Cape Henlopen wrestlers rally to top host Caesar Rodney 35-31

Delaware State News photos/Marc Clery

CAMDEN — The Cape Henlopen High wrestling team was trailing by 20 points, but the Vikings liked who they had left to wrestle.

Cape Henlopen won the last five matches and earned enough bonus points to edge Caesar Rodney High 35-31 in a Henlopen Conference Northern Divison wrestling dual on Wednesday night. It was the first conference dual meet of the season for both teams.

Cape got bonus points in each of the final five matches. Vincent Diego (145 pounds) and Ezekiel Bean (152) each recorded major decisions before back-to-back tech-falls by Dante Jacquet (160) and Cory Lawson (170).

Chris Handlin sealed it with a pin in 3:01 in the final match of the night at 182 pounds.

“If the match is on the line, that’s where we want to finish,” said Cape Henlopen coach Chris Mattioni.

The Vikings (2-0) had won the first three bouts too. Brock Maloomian and Holden Kammerer each earned decisions while Zackery Flores followed with a pin at heavyweight.

Caesar Rodney dropped to 0-1 on the year. The Riders had five new wrestlers making their debut on the varsity squad.

“The better team won,” said CR coach Dan Rigby. “We didn’t think we would be in that match like that. … It was an exciting match. I think at the end of the year we’re a different team and hopefully we’ll be able to see those guys again. But the better team definitely won tonight.”

The Riders turned a 12-0 deficit after three matches into a 31-11 lead.

They were paced by pins from Kevin Bowne (113), Mason Harrington (126) and Jackson Dean (132). Harrington recorded the quickest pin of the night in just 34 seconds.

CR won the 106 match via forfeit and Cam Hayes earned a decision at 120 while the Vikings also lost a team point due to unsportsmanlike conduct.
When Cody Stevenson won the 138-pound match with a major decision, it was the sixth-straight win for CR but it would also be its last.

Thanks to the four wins by Diego, Bean, Jacquet and Lawson, Handlin only needed a decision to give Cape the dual meet. He instead earned the maximum six points with his pin in the second period.

“I was just thinking to do what I had to do not worry about the rest of the match,” Handlin said of when CR got out to its lead. “I just knew those guys could do it.”

“I’ve always said great teams find ways to win,” Mattioni said. “We were certainly challenged. Caesar Rodney always brings it and they brought it tonight. Rigby did a great job prepping those guys. It was a barn-burning, it came down to the end and like I said, great teams find a way to win.”

The Vikings avenged a 38-30 defeat to Caesar Rodney from a season ago in the season opener.

Mattioni was pleased to start the Henlopen North season off on the right foot.

“We’ve got a real solid lineup,” he said. “But we’ve got to keep working and get better because the Henlopen North is certainly a tough road to go through.”

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