BY CHUCK VANDENBERG
FORT MADISON – It was the start the Hounds were looking for this year.
The lights went down in the Hound Dome and AC/DC’s Thunderstruck gave a premonition of what was to come as the Bloodhounds rolled Quincy 57-18 to open the season.
At 145 lbs, Tanner Settles thunder-stuck Quincy’s Diego Roberts 35 seconds into the match for a quick 6-0 lead. The pins would be the story for four of the first five matches with the quickest coming when Chance Hocker grabbed up Quincy’s Gage Bringer and rolled him over for the pin in just 12 seconds at 182 lbs.
At 152 lbs Jakob McGowan was tied with Kayden Garrett at 2. Garrett got McGowan in a rolling cradle in the third period, but McGowan turned the roll completely over and was able to wrench Garrett’s shoulders to the mat before he could roll out of the hold for a fall at 5:05.
Mason Schau and Nathan Steffensmeier had two of the most compelling matches of the night. Schau trailed the Blue Devils’ Neil Kozlowski 5-4 going into the third period after Kozlowski was awarded a penalty point for Schau’s full nelson hold. Schau then rebounded with :36 left with a 2-point take down and then wrestled to a near fall for three more points to get the win with just seconds remaining.
“He made a couple tactical errors where he got an escape point and then he put a full nelson on so he made some silly errors, but he kept battling and chipping away,” Smith said.
Steffensmeier was trailing Kaleb Vahle 6-7 with less than a minute left in the third period. On a restart at the six minute mark, Steffensmeier rushed Vahle and got him off balance for a take down and then was able to press the pin with :53 left in the match.
Vahle had a shove and some words for Steffensmeier after the match, but cooler heads prevailed.
“He was stalling on me and I knew I had him, what he did after the match was his choice,” Steffensmeier said.
“It’s my senior year and I was thinking I’ve been here before and then the night came and the nerves hit me, but as soon as the whistle blows, that’s gone.”
After Hocker’s pin, the Hounds had a 27-0 lead. Fort Madison would get their first loss when Thomas Culp was able to slip away from a close take down from Diego Lozano and reverse him to score two points. Lozano had scored an escape in the 2nd period, but Culp’s 2-1 lead would hold out for Quincy’s first 3 points of the night at 220 lbs.
JC Lackey would get a fall in the third period over Jarrett Settles, but 5th ranked Danen Settles would right the ship for the Hounds at 285 with a pin of Xaivious Benjamin in just :41.
Dominick Demming and Emmett Kruse rolled all over the mat at 106 lbs with Demming pushing his way out of a Kruse near fall with about a minute left in the 2nd period. Kruse had Demming pushed to the mat, but Demming was able to use his legs to push out and over Kruse scoring a reversal and a near fall in the move. Kruse trailed 7-9 going into the third period. Demming would get a take down to go up 7-11, but Kruse would be awarded a penalty point for a headlock and then scored a take down on the restart with :09 left in the match and time ran out.
At 113, Matt Steffensmeier got the pin series going again with a fall over Zach Newell 14 seconds into the 2nd period. At 120, Blake Peter would score a pin over Owen Kruse and then Fort Madison would get pins from Gage Roberts (126 lbs), and Gavin Wiseman over Garrick Homan in just :45 seconds.
Will Larson rounded out the night with a pin after scoring a take down in the first period. Larson would get two more take downs in the first and second periods, riding Brayden Oenning all over the mat before settling in with a pin at the 5:14 mark.
“He did a good job of sticking with that guy, he was a good wrestler and moved tight,” Smith said of Larson’s match.
Smith said the Hounds brought good energy and that will help bring some momentum into this weekend’s loaded Independence Invitational where nationally-ranked schools will be on the mat.
“That helps you get some good momentum. They did a good job of bringing some energy tonight,” Smith said.
We stayed in some matches even though we were losing, but they continued to put the pressure on and our conditioning was a factor there. At the same time it wasn’t perfect, so there are a lot of things we can correct,” Smith said.