By Frank Dimon
For the Daily Item
TURBOTVILLE -- Jared Miller handed Warrior Run a huge helping of momentum in just the second bout of Thursday night's critical Heartland Athletic Conference II showdown in the Defenders' tightly packed gym.
With his team already trailing in the matchup of two of District 4's better teams, Miller was tilted three times by Branden Stahlnecker in the first first period and trailed 11-0. But Miller, a sophomore 106-pounder, hooked up a spladle after escaping to start the second period and posted a stunning fall in 3:37.
When teammate Eric Hunt followed with a first-period fall at 113, and once-beaten Zack LeBarron survived an overtime scare at 120 with a reversal in the third extra period for a 9-7 decision, Warrior Run held a 15-3 lead.
But Hughesville, a team that hadn't reacted well after falling behind in a couple of early season losses, found a way to win this time. The Spartans earned key wins in swing bouts at 132, 145, and 152, and then won three of the final four bouts for an entertaining 36-24 victory.
"Hughesville wrestled more fundamentally sound than we did," said Defenders coach Wayne Smythe, whose team dropped to 6-2 (2-2 in HAC II). "There were points where I was really pleased with the way we wrestled." Miller had his own back perilously close to the mat when he adjusted his pinning combination to get the early fall. Hunt improved to 13-1 when he used double arm bars to stick Zack Beamer.
LeBarron overcame Trevor Sones' 7-4 lead after two periods with a strong third, and then escaped eight seconds into the third overtime period.
But the Defenders wouldn't win again until 160 -- a stretch of five bouts. The Spartans' Devin Stahlnecker, a junior with one loss, converted a double-leg takedown 31 seconds into overtime to hand Brian LeBarron his first loss, 6-4, at 126. Unheralded Nate Hampton picked up a fall in the second period at 132.