BENNINGTON — The names might not be as familiar for Mount Anthony wrestling fans, but in a close match on Friday night against Noble, Maine, their experience in the wrestling room helped the Patriots win out in the end.
Down by two points with a pair of matches left, 195-pounder Dakota King and 220-pounder Sebastian Rocher each scored pins to propel the Patriots to a 44-36 victory.
"I told [Dakota], don't get caught up in all of this [crowd], don't think about the team, think about yourself," Legacy said. "And Sebastian wrestled more within himself and tried not to do too much. They've been under the wing of guys [that have graduated], but they still have to learn to set that pace for themselves."
With Noble taking a 36-32 lead, King came out with one goal in mind.
"[Legacy] could tell I was nervous, but he looked at me and said, 'Wrestle how you wrestle, tire the kid out,' King said. "He talks to me a certain way that brings me back into the match."
He did it convincingly, pinning his opponent in 35 seconds to retake the lead.
"When he put pressure in, Coach told us before the match that they like to go headlocks, when I felt him try to go upper body, I knew the headlock was trying to come. I made sure my head was low so he couldn't hit it on me and I got him down."
Back ahead by a pair, it was up to Rocher to clinch it. He took a 4-1 lead after the first, wrestling smartly and under control. Starting on bottom in the second, Rocher scored in a flurry — a penalty point after his opponent locked hands, an escape and a takedown all in the same sequence.
Another takedown shortly after and Rocher turned his man for the fall to seal it.
"I think he was mentally broke when he tried to headlock me and I picked him up and slammed him," Rocher said. "He didn't fight after that."
Noble coach Kip DeVoll was happy with his team's performance, despite the loss.
"We've come up here the last two years and they've really pounded us and we focused on wrestling their style," DeVoll said. "It was a great meet and I was glad to give them a great match."
Mount Anthony blasted out to a 17-0 lead after the first three matches. Starting at 285, Calvin Hayford pinned Brent Holmes in 2:50 in the opening match. Tyson Sauer ripped through his opponent at 106 with a technical fall in the second period and Ashdin Schaefer took an 8-0 lead in his match before a fall at 3:10.
Freshman Keenan Taylor lost in 1:51 to Austin Shorey at 120, but Calvin Call came back in the only decision of the night — at 126 pounds — to win 8-6 over Jake Martel. Call trailed 4-0 but chose to start the second period down and scored a takedown and back points to take a 5-4 lead into the third period.
Martel scored a reversal 10 seconds into the period, but Call tied it with an escape with 1:13 left. Then with 50 seconds to go, Call scored a winning takedown to give Mount Anthony a 20-6 lead.
"He wrestled a risky match, I've been trying to get him to wrestle a less-is-more strategy," Legacy said.
Gage McLaughlin got caught for a fall at 132 in 3:51, but Tyler Raetz at 138 and Chris Mayer at 145 each got the pin — Raetz at 3:30 and Mayer at 2:57 after building an 8-2 advantage — to make Mount Anthony's lead 32-12.
"Freshman like Tyson and Chris came up big for us," Legacy said. "Tyler has been looking really solid all year."
At 152, Noble started to get the momentum and racked off four straight falls between 152 and 182.
Kasey Rogers pinned Austin Condo at 152, then Josh Grenier did the same to Tyler Burgess after the MAU sophomore got caught on his back at 160.
AJ Wright at 170 was the next victim, pinned by perennial New England contender Otto Keisker in 2:41, which pulled Noble within two at 32-30.
"Our middle ones are our strongest guys, seniors and juniors," DeVoll said.
Hunter Smith, another senior for the Knights, scored an early takedown of Colin Crowley at 182 and pinned him at 1:19 to give Noble its first lead of the night at 36-32.
"It's good to have them going, you don't want to calm them down too much," DeVoll said. "I knew it would come down to [195 and 220]."