Class AAA No. 1 Kiski Area uses five pins to take down Class AA No. 1 Burrell
By: Doug Gulasy
Friday, January 11, 2019 | 11:27 PM
Brayden Roscosky absorbed a shove from Burrell’s Zach Rupert as the two tumbled out of bounds at the end of the first period in their 195-pound bout, drawing an audible buzz from the crowd inside Burrell’s gym.
Although Roscosky said later he didn’t really feel the push, as absorbed as he was in the match, his actions suggested otherwise.
Roscosky’s pin less than a minute later secured Kiski Area’s match victory, and teammates Troy Kuhn and Stone Joseph followed with quick pins of their own, giving the Class AAA No. 1 Cavaliers an emphatic 45-18 win over Class AA No. 1 Burrell in their annual rivalry match Friday night.
“It kind of set me off and made me want to beat this guy down even more,” Roscosky said. “I pinned him in the second (period), and it felt pretty good to do that.”
The annual rivalry match between Kiski Area and Burrell had a little bit of extra spice, given both teams’ status as the defending WPIAL champions in their classifications. Burrell has won the last 12 Class AA titles and Kiski Area the last two in Class AAA.
Both teams wanted to push the pace offensively, and after a slow start, Kiski Area (6-0) made itself the aggressor late by winning nine of the final 11 bouts, including five by pin.
“Their guys wrestled us hard,” Kiski Area coach Chris Heater said. “Even in places where we might have had the better guy, those guys wrestled and battled us hard, which is very typical of this dual meet every year.”
Burrell (4-2), which lost to Kiski Area for the eighth consecutive season, came away disappointed with its performance, which included losses in potential swing matches.
“I told those guys at the beginning of the match that the match is going to go one of two ways: We’re either going to come out with some fire and we’re going to come out and fight and it’s going to be a good match, or we’re going to be big-brothered,” said Burrell assistant Chris Como, who coached the team with coach Josh Shields away on business. “We got big-brothered tonight. What it comes down to is just we were in a lot of critical situations where we need to fight a little more, a lot of dogfight positions, and we didn’t. We’re looking to kind of bail out, and that’s costly.”
Burrell won the first three matches, getting identical 6-2 decisions by Shawn Szymanski at 106 pounds and Nick Salerno at 113 and a forfeit by Ian Oswalt at 120 to take an early 12-0 lead.
Dom Giordano put Kiski Area on the board with a 3-0 decision at 126 pounds, and Burrell forfeited to Darren Miller at 132 to make it 12-9.
After A.J. Corrado’s 4-1 decision at 138 pushed the Burrell lead to 15-9, Kiski Area began its avalanche in the middleweights, the Cavaliers’ team strength. They won seven of the final eight bouts, getting pins from Enzo Morlacci (145 pounds), Cam Connor (152), Roscosky (195), Kuhn (220) and Joseph (285) and decisions by Jack Blumer (160) and Nick Delp (170).
“We’re starting to find our roots, starting to find what we need to do,” Kuhn said. “Everyone’s working hard in the room, so we’re getting there.”
Burrell’s lone win in the final eight matches came when Ricky Feroce claimed an 8-2 decision at 182 pounds.
“It was close for a while, and then we end up giving up bonus points,” Como said. “That accumulates over the course of a dual meet, and as a result, the final score speaks to itself.
“There’s a couple matches we considered to be swing matches, and they didn’t turn into swing matches at all. They were more controlled by the Kiski Area guys, and those were matches we needed to kind of keep it close and kind of keep us within reach to win the match, and they didn’t go our way at all. That’s a little disappointing.”
Burrell, which already has clinched a spot in the WPIAL Class AA playoffs, will turn its attention to finishing the regular season strong — the Bucs will face rival Valley on Wednesday and travel to the Brookville Duals next weekend before opening the WPIAL Class AA playoffs as the 12-time defending champion.
“I think it’s a great learning lesson,” Feroce said. “It shows where we all need to be to be top of the state, No. 1 in the state. Even though they’re Triple-A, we still should be competing with them.”
Kiski Area can clinch a playoff spot with a Section 1-AAA win over Central Catholic on Saturday, the second of two scheduled matches for the Cavaliers on the day. They face nonsection opponent Connellsville at 1 p.m. and Central Catholic at 3.
“We’re all working super hard in the practice room on the mat and at tournaments everywhere we go,” Roscosky said. “We’re just going out to battle.”
Doug Gulasy is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Doug at email@example.com or via Twitter @dgulasy_Trib.