Tahlequah Daily Press

Sports

January 16, 2013

Tigers come up empty in district duals

SKIATOOK — James Rappe crouched down and put his face in his hands. The harsh reality of not getting to go to dual state was hitting home with the Tahlequah coach.

Rappe’s brief time of reflection was late in a dual loss to Skiatook, the second of two setbacks on a day in which a District 5A-6 champion was crowned. Tahlequah lost to Coweta (35-27) before coming up short of Skiatook, 43-30.

“We’ve still got some guys fighting off some colds,” Rappe said. “We weren’t firing at 100 percent. We had all of our kids, but it is what it is.”

For the second straight year, Tahlequah came up empty at a district quad — well, this year was more of a triangular with Tulsa Memorial being the one no-show. The Tigers lost to both Coweta and Skiatook last season, with Skiatook earning the district title and dual state berth.

This season, Coweta nabbed the district glory, following up its win over Tahlequah with a 37-27 triumph over Skiatook.

Coweta 35, Tahlequah 27

Coweta couldn’t have asked for a better start, racing out to an 18-0 advantage.

And even when Tahlequah started racking up wins, it couldn’t get any by fall. Thus, Tahlequah lost out on the bonus points that Rappe stressed the important of prior to the duals.

“We weren’t able to get those bonus points we needed in the middle,” said Rappe, who got decision victories from Mitch Sellers (132 pounds), Reese Davis (138), Hestin Lamons (145) and Trent Patrick (152).

“Can’t take anything away from Coweta; even though those kids got beat, they didn’t get tech falled or pinned. That was a big factor that played into their victory.”

Once Tahlequah got to within 18-12, Coweta got two more wins by fall, getting wins at 160 (Tanner Borror) and 170 (Sam Dawes). That allowed Coweta to forfeit at 182 and 195, narrowing Tahlequah’s deficit to six points (30-24).

That meant it was up to Tahlequah’s Rusty Ballard (220) and Chad Harlan (heavyweight) to come up with wins to give Tahlequah a win early in the day.

Harlan came through with a 4-2 win, but Ballard’s 16-0, technical fall loss eliminated any chances of Tahlequah prevailing.

“They haven’t wrestled a whole lot,” Rappe said of his two biggest wrestlers. “They still have a lot of work to do. It’s hard to be upset with them, because it’s not because of a lack of effort.”

Skiatook 43, Tahlequah 30

The Tigers were able to claim a lead against Skiatook, but it faded late.

Sellers, Davis and Lamons all won by fall to help Tahlequah pull ahead 24-8 through six bouts.

However, Skiatook went on to win seven of the next bouts, resulting in a 13-point victory. And even Tahlequah’s win during that stretch came from Ballard, who was down 9-0 when he came up with a win by fall.

“We were still trying to make things happen,” Rappe said. “We knew if we could be Skiatook that Skiatook could turn around and beat Coweta [to force a tiebreaker]. We just needed to rack up the points. We talked about that in the locker room and it just didn’t happen.”

Coweta 37, Skiatook 27

This one was set up perfectly for Coweta. The Tigers started at 120 pounds, leaving Dillon Pratch (106) and Fletcher Edwards (113) from last.

Ironically, Edwards didn’t even win. He didn’t need to, though.

Pratch’s win by fall in the third period over Skiatook’s Tyler Ordner secured Coweta’s district crown and a trip to dual state.

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