BENNINGTON -- With a couple of new faces in the Mount Anthony Union High School wrestling team's lineup Thursday night, it was the veterans who stepped up in the Patriots' 56-18 win over West Springfield at Kates Gym.
Even if those veterans are only sophomores.
Two West Side pins by Randy Guyette at 145 pounds and Alex Witas at 152 pounds gave the Terriers some momentum down only 21-12. But Damon Young scored a first-period pin at 160 to extend the lead to 27-12 and Tyler Mattison blasted through his opponent at 170 with a 18-3 technical fall to make it 32-12 and put West Side, the top Western Massachusetts team in the state rankings, on their heels.
"After they got back-to-back pins, they were fired up," said MAU coach Scott Legacy. "Damon and Tyler did a great job of picking up and putting us back again. It was huge for those two. It got us some separation heading into the last match. Those two pins didn't faze them at all."
West Springfield wouldn't quit, however, as Nimat Umorov pinned Ezra Caron at 182 to pull the Terriers to within 32-18. But the final four Patriots -- Brandon Marcoux-Schaefer at 195, Jack Luciano at 220, Jesse Webb at 285 and Tyler Raetz at 106 all scored pinfalls to get to the final margin.
"Brandon has been our unsung hero all year long," Legacy said. "He's wrestling up 20 pounds to 195 and he's just methodically dismantling his opponents. He just keeps plugging away on his technique. He ceases to amaze me."
Marcoux-Schaefer is 20-5 on the season, closing in on 140 career wins.
The match started on a fast note for the Patriots as Troy Gassaway pinned his opponent, Matt Robare, in 29 seconds for the 6-0 lead. Gassaway is 21-2 so far this season.
Dylan LaFountain scored an 8-5 decision at 120, scored four points in the final period to come back for the victory and a 9-0 Mount Anthony lead.
Kyle Fletcher made it three wins in a row for the Patriots with an 11-0 major decision at 126 pounds.
At 132, Miguel Calixto blew through his opponent, scoring 21 points in 3:41 en route to another tech fall. Calixto, the transfer from Windham, Conn., is 25-0 on the season and won his 182nd career match against the Terriers.
Bailey Willard weathered a late takedown in his match at 138 to win 4-2 by decision, giving MAU a 21-0 cushion.
Then Houston Shaler and Darren Ruiz-Sauer, in his first home varsity match of the season, were both pinned at 145 and 152, respectively, leading to the final charge by the Patriots.
"They both wrestled well, but they made a couple of mistakes," Legacy said. "They have to know when they're in trouble on the mat and it cost them."