Derry wrestling coach Mike Weinell said he was a little concerned about Wednesday's first-place battle against Elizabeth Forward.
The Trojans, ranked No. 2 in Class AA by the Tribune-Review, had two starters out with injuries and Weinell told his wrestlers after a tough workout Tuesday that every point would count.
His team listened well and put together a dominating performance.
Weinell couldn't have asked for a better start, thanks to his son, Trey, whose pin propelled Derry to a 51-19 victory in Section 2B.
The victory clinched at least a tie for the subsection title heading into next week's final section match at Mt. Pleasant. Derry is 11-0, 4-0, and No. 8 Elizabeth Forward falls to 3-1, 3-1.
Starting at 152 pounds, Weinell got a pin in the second period and Gannon Lenhart (160) followed with a pin in the third period to help Derry open up a 12-0 lead. And when Chris Constantine was awarded a forfeit, the Trojans were looking strong.
“We started out well,” Coach Weinell said. “Trey came out first, and I told him he had to set the tone of the match. He hadn't been wrestling well lately, but he got a pin and then Gannon had a nice match.”
Despite a win by Derry junior Dom DeLuca at heavyweight, Elizabeth Forward closed the deficit to 24-19 after the 113-pound match.
But Derry flexed its muscle, winning the final five bouts to put the match away.
Freshman Ty Cymmerman received a forfeit at 120, and seniors Shawn Broadway (126) and junior Jason Baker (132) followed with falls to clinch the win.
“Hunter (Hebenthal) didn't give up a pin, which was good, and Dom came out hammering and got the pin at heavyweights,” Weinell said. “Shawn came out and wrestled well. That was big to get him back wrestling well and tough.”
Broadway, who didn't wrestle his style at the Westmoreland County Coaches' Association tournament, said he was much improved from earlier in the week.
“I feel a lot better than I did, and I feel I wrestled better,” Broadway said. “We have to continue to work harder and harder as a team to achieve our goals. We took this match like any other match. We wrestled strong.”
Elizabeth Forward had four wins, including a pin by Fred Howard over Kace Sabedra at 113 and a pin by R.J. Buchina at 195.
“We could have made it a little closer, but they're a solid team with few weak links,” Elizabeth Forward coach Rich Scheuermann said. “They're more powerful than we are. I was pleased how we fought.”
Derry can host the Section 2 team tournament Jan. 24 with a win against Mt. Pleasant.
Weinell said having McGuffey and the other teams travel would be a benefit.
Right now Derry is focused on next week's match and getting wrestlers back from injury.
“I feel we can go with anyone if we're healthy,” Weinell said. “Hopefully that's the case once the team tournament starts.”