THOMAS â€” On a night in which the current crop of Snake River wrestlers paid tribute to the founder of Snake River wrestling, Keith Williams. Snake River capped the evening with a hard fought 43-24 duel win over Bingham County rival Firth on Wednesday night at Snake River High School.
"We had a lot going on tonight with some distractions but they were good distractions because it was really neat to see coach honored like that and for our kids too be involved in that," Snake River head coach Jeff Gardner said. "They where still able to stay focused, come in and do their jobs against a really good Firth team."
The matches were close throughout the night, with 8 of the 11 matches wrestled going three periods.
"It was exciting to see," coach Gardner said. "It shows me that the kids are getting into better shape, they are ready to wrestle an entire match without getting tired so they are pretty much where we want them to be right now."
The matches went "old school" beginning the evening at 103 just like they did back in the day. Snake River's Kaden Bench got the Panthers off to a roaring start with a hard fought 7-2 decision over Jace Wilding.
At 112, the Panthers got a first period pin from Skylerr Vallentine and after a Tony Castaneda win by forfeit at 119 the Panthers led 15-0.
Firth answered back at 125 as Conner Montgomery earned 6-points with a injury default by Deigo Meraz. Montgomery was leading 12-3 in the third period when Meraz had to concede with pain in his shoulder.
Snake River garnered another forfeit at 130 as Colton Coles got his hand raised in advance of a thrilling 3-2 win by Snake River's Rusty Line over Cooper Clemons at 135.
The match came down to the last :19 seconds when Line was able to get the matches first take down for the win.
"We had some real courageous matches from Rusty Line and Carlos Molina," coach Gardner said. "I think that those kids came up big and kind of put us over the edge."
Firth came right back at 140 with Jacob Butler getting a 9-6 decision over Wyatt Lott. At 145 Jesse Vogler looked as if he had a first period pin over Matt Lindburg but Lindburg survived the period, but still fell 12-3.
At 152 Carlos Molina earned a 11-5 decision over Logan Dial before the two teams traded forfeits at 160 and 171.
A Snake River pin by Jared Smith at 189 capped the scoring for the Panthers on the evening as Firth's James Jolley earned a thrilling 8-5 win over Mike Duff at 215 and Ben Cornia put a lid on the night with a first period pin in the heavyweight category.
"I didn't think that we looked all that sharp tonight," Firth head coach Keith Drake said. "A lot of that may be that we haven't wrestled since our Christmas tournament and of course, Snake River is a good team. We matched up pretty good, but Snake River won most of the close ones and we need to shake off some of the rust and get motivated too wrestle harder."
Both teams will be in action at weekend tournaments with Snake River traveling too American Falls for the Dahlke Invitational and Firth heading to Wendall for their tournament.
103 (SR)Bench 7-2 dec
112 (SR) Vallentine pin
119 (SR) Castaneda forfeit
125 (F) Montgomery injury fall
130 (SR) Coles forfeit
135 (SR) Line 3-2 dec
140 (F) Butler 9-6 dec
145 (SR) Vogler 12-3 maj dec
152 (SR) Molina 11-5 dec
160 (F) Scheiss forfeit
171 (SR) Carter forfeit
189 (SR) Smith pin
215 (F) Jolley 8-5 dec
HWY (F) Cornia pin