Eagles just miss in duals title run

Second chance in May

By Randy Lefko
Posted 1/24/18

KISSIMMEE – With a bit of coaching gamesmanship about midway through the Fleming Island High and South Dade Class 3A Duals State Championship match that got to within a 19-26 score behind senior …

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Eagles just miss in duals title run

Second chance in May


KISSIMMEE – With a bit of coaching gamesmanship about midway through the Fleming Island High and South Dade Class 3A Duals State Championship match that got to within a 19-26 score behind senior Paul Detwiler’s ferocious pin at 170 pounds and a tough survival match from sophomore Jeff Loscano at 182, the Golden Eagles could not untimately match the Buccaneers lineup in the end and lost a 39-25 decision at the Saturday event at Osceola High School in Kissimmee.

“This atmosphere is nuts,” said Fleming Island High coach P.J. Cobbert, after his Golden Eagles squad succumbed to the 12-times state champion Buccaneers via a 39-25 final score. “We put our guys out there to face whoever they wanted to send. They moved guys, trying to stay away from Paul (Detwiler) but we’ll get a second shot in two months in the traditional state championships and we should get some help in that one. You can’t hide guys there.”

South Dade, 12 times the Class 3A champion in traditional individual bracket tournament format, stayed just ahead of the Golden Eagles, second to South Dade last year in traditional, to win the first-ever duals state title in Florida.

“We just have to get our lineup tight for the IBT (individual bracket tournament state championships),” said Cobbert. “Every week of practice, we evaluate where we are and which wrestlers are going to give us maximum effort.”

South Dade opened with a 5-1 at 106 from Luis Peraza over Lou Gagliardo, a pin at 120 by defending champion Bretli Reyna over Albie Snedaker and an overtime win at 126 from state runnerup Tyler Orta over Jacob Sandoval to push to a quick 12-3.

With Fleming Island getting a riveting win at 113 from senior Briar Jackson, who beat South Dade sophomore Isaac Duran 4-2; a forfeit win at 132 pounds to Jaquan English and a 9-0 major decision win from junior Vincent Hauser at 145 that got four team points, Fleming Island closed to within three points, 13-16.

“Vincent had a big win for us tonight,” said Cobbert. “That’s the kind of win that gives a guy big confidence and can make a big difference at the state meet. In a match where some of our studs go down, it’s a guy like Vince that steps up to fill the gap.”

At this point, Cobbert was needing a go-ahead match to scratch out a lead, but sophomore Luke Chop was set to face off with South Dade defending state and national champion Brevin Balmeceda, 38-1, at 152 pounds. Chop lost via a first period pin to give South Dade some breathing room.

At 160, South Dade pitted junior Todd Perry, second at 152 last year, against Trace Insalaco to try and stop the lead-stretch by South Dade. Perry answered with his own 9-0 major decision to add four points to the South Dade lead.

Detwiler, with his 40-0 record with 38 first period pins, was up next wih South Dade coach Balmeceda and Cobbert eyeballing each other amongst their team benches with each waiting a sign of whom was to face whom in the 170 match.

Cobbert stayed with his go-to guy in Detwiler with Balmeceda opting for senior Kevin Perez instead of senior Mikaela Fundora who had a 35-2 record with both losses via first period pins to Detwiler earlier in the season.

Detwiler pinned Perez in the second period, keeping the Golden Eagles within earshot of pulling out the win with just four matches remaining.

“Paul’s an animal,” said Cobbert. “Their guy stalled the first period and Paul stuck him in the second period.”

Loscano, a sophomore with a 30-9 record, fought off the over-sized Fundora’s rabid slew of attacks; two first period near falls, two wicked throws in the second period and a rugged takedown clinic in the final period, before losing by a 14-4 major decision instead of a six-point pin, Fleming Island was still able to pull out the upset with their three heavy weight athletes; Jalyn Robinson, Ryan Smenda and Jose Concepcion, needing a decision and two pins to steal the title.

“Hawkeye (Loscano) wrestles hard and doesn’t get pinned,” said Cobbert. “We needed to not give up the six points.”

In the final three matches, Robinson lost 7-4 to Corey Harvey to smother the momentum of the win possibility, but Smenda, a Fleming Island High linebacker heading to Wake Forest University with two state medals in his pocket, blasted South Dade’s Ken Crouse with a blast double leg takedown to reignite the Fleming Island bench and close the score to 25-33.

Senior 285 pounder Jose Concepcion was in against South Dade senior Trayvonne Jackson

with a 38-1 record and third last year in 2A for Miami Killian, but got thrown and pinned to end the match at 39-25.


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