#2 Bearcats defeat the #3 Islanders 42-13Posted:
By BUCK MAHONEY
Hub Sports Editor
Kearney High started making noise long before Tuesday’s dual with Grand Island began.
When it started, the Bearcats roared out of the gates. With two pins in the first three matches, second-ranked Kearney lit a fuse that resulted in a 42-13 victory over third-ranked Grand Island.
The evening had a lot of significance for the Bearcats. They celebrated Senior Night, had a large contingent of Rowdies dressed for Singlet Night and had a crowd of alumni on hand for the last-ever wrestling match in the Kearney High gym as they make the move next year to the new school.
“You can’t say enough about what we had tonight,” KHS coach Ty Swarm said. “I try to explain to our students … you don’t see this at wrestling meets. That many students, wearing singlets, they were excited. Throw that in with the history of Kearney High wrestling, it doesn’t get any better than what we were part of tonight.”
The team didn’t disappoint the fans.
Leo Palomo got it rolling with a takedown with 27 seconds left in his match to score a 5-3 win over Grand Island’s Alexzaiah Deras at 182 pounds. Deras had bumped up from 170 pounds and “that’s a huge match that we didn’t anticipate,” Swarm said. “(Palomo) set the tone right away. Leo’s a good wrestler and he came out and beat a good kid.”
Kearney’s Andy Mason and Sean Jackson followed with back-to-back pins, staking Kearney to a 15-0 lead.
“That takes them out of it from any momentum standpoint because there’s a big mountain to climb to get back into it,” Swarm said.
The Bearcats went on to win 10 of the 14 matches, getting four pins. Two of those came by freshmen Phillip Moomey and Nick James. Moomey’s pin put Kearney ahead 24-3, while James, who was trailing 4-3 when he turned a reversal into a pin, stretched the lead to 33-6.
“We were in a lot of matches, but a little bit of inexperience on a couple guys ended up getting us in the end,” Grand Island coach Joey Morrison said. “Kearney did a phenomenal job preparing, their crowd was into it … that’s how they all should be. Unfortunately, some of the time it’s not how they are and it’s kind of dead.”
Grand Island didn’t go down easy. Morrison cited several matches they were in before getting pinned. And, there was Kearney’s quick start that was hard to overcome.
“They caught us where we have some guys filling in right now and they did a nice job getting the pins there. A couple of our guys couldn’t secure pins later to match those, and really, that’s the story of the dual,” Morrison said.
Swarm said the victory shows his team is on the course he wants to see.
“That’s a good team we beat. … That’s a team that’s shown they’re always in the top five and a tough team. For us to come out and beat them the way we did tonight shows that we’re wrestling very well right now,” he said.