Burrell dominates Highlands in section matchup

Monday, January 6, 2020 | 10:30 PM

Heading into Monday night’s Section 3A-AA wrestling match between Burrell and Highlands, both teams were undefeated in their section.

Burrell was looking to protect its legacy. Highlands was out to prove that it belonged.

On a night where the Bucs were celebrating their seniors and the Golden Rams were down four starters due to team disciplinary reasons, the 13-time WPIAL Class AA champs reigned supreme.

The Bucs (3-1, 3-0) earned eight pins, four of which came in the first period, and cruised to a 69-3 win over Highlands (10-2, 2-1).

“I really don’t think it could’ve gone any better,” Burrell senior Ricky Feroce said. “They came out and they were saying they had a team. We showed them Burrell is gonna stay around, same old team every year.”

The night started with six straight wins from Burrell. Shawn Syzmanski (113) picked up a pin in 1 minute, 7 seconds, then Nicholas Salerno pinned Bryan Randolph in the final 20 seconds of their 120-pound match before Aaron Edwards earned a 10-7 decision over Highlands’ Evan Henry at 126 pounds.

The 132-pound match between Burrell’s Ian Oswalt and Highland’s Jrake Burford was one of the most competitive of the night, as the two battled through three periods. With seven seconds remaining in the final frame, Oswalt pulled off the pin.

“We’re preaching to these guys every day, every match we’re getting better. There’s no going backward,” Burrell coach Josh Shields said.

Highlands scored its only win of the night when Blake Clark earned two points in the final seconds to sneak away with a 9-8 decision.

The Bucs never looked back after that. Noah Linderman (160) earned a pin in 5:17, Dominic Holmes (170) did the same in 1:42 and then Cole Clark took five extra seconds to get his at 182-pounds.

The pins were coming left and right and Feroce wanted to follow suit on his senior night. He stepped onto the mat and finished his opponent in 26 seconds.

“After seeing all of my buddies go out there and get that win, I came up and knew what I had to do,” Feroce said. “I went out and I got it done.”

Mikey Scherer closed out the night for Burrell earning a pin in 3:40 for his seventh of the season.

Heading into Monday’s contest, Highlands had only lost one dual match and had already defeated Valley (64-12) and South Allegheny (63-12). But they were short-handed when they made the short trip to Burrell high school.

Jeremiah Nelson, Brock White, Jeremiah Saunders and Lukas Simpson all didn’t wrestle, and Highlands coach Grant Walters said Monday night was a learning experience for his team.

“I sat four starters. We bumped four weight classes,” Walters said. “I’m not saying we would’ve won, but I’m saying we hurt our own chances tonight because of failure to do our job. So that’s where we’re at. This is a lesson learned. It’s a life lesson.”

Both teams are back in action on Wednesday. Highlands will take on Riverview and Burrell will take on Summit Academy.

Greg Macafee is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Greg by email at gmacafee@triblive.com or via Twitter .

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