Franklin Regional wrestling overcomes early deficit to top Moon

Monday, January 29, 2018 | 10:28 PM

Franklin Regional was in a deep hole during Monday's WPIAL Class AAA preliminary-round match against Moon.

But the Panthers (9-3) didn't flinch. They won the final seven bouts and rallied for a 43-33 victory. Franklin Regional will face No. 4 Seneca Valley in the first round Wednesday.

“It was a great job and a heck of an effort,” Franklin Regional coach Matt Lebe said. “We were moving wrestlers around, and they all did the job.”

The match concluded with a showdown between two of the top wrestlers in the WPIAL: Franklin Regional junior Colton Camacho, ranked No. 1 at 132 pounds by the Tribune-Review and by , and Moon senior Nick Acuna, ranked No. 5 in the WPIAL and No. 6 in the state by .

Camacho defeated Acuna, 5-3. Camacho got a takedown in the first period and reversal in the third period. Acuna pulled to within 4-3 with a reversal in the third period, but Camacho fought off Acuna's attack to preserve the win.

“It's a match I wanted,” Camacho said. “It will help in the bigger matches later this season.”

Franklin Regional, which forfeited 220 and heavyweight, received forfeits at 126, 132 and 138. It was trailing 33-5 after six matches.

The Panthers also got a technical fall from Carter Dibert (106) and pins from Garrett Thompson (113) and Mario Sarnic (120) to close the gap to 33-22. The forfeits gave them the winning margin (40-33) with Camacho's match left.

“It was a heck of a job by Colton,” Lebe said. “He stepped up two weight classes and beat a state ranked kid.”

Moon was missing senior Frank Bonura (113), who was ill.

“Not having Frankie hurt,” Moon coach Mike Muraco said. “We had no one to stop their run, and we just don't have anyone ready in the weights we forfeited.

“We're still looking for that first playoff victory. This match was sure a lot better than our match last year.”

Moon lost to Butler, 55-18, in 2017.

“It was a total team effort,” Lebe said. “These kids know what it takes and do what it takes to win. They buy into the program.”

In the other matches, Upper St. Clair edged Shaler, 35-34, and Thomas Jefferson defeated Mars, 35-32.

Upper St. Clair and Shaler ended the match tied 34-34, but the Panthers received an extra point in the tie-breaker process, criteria 8 (most first points scored). USC faces Canon-McMillan in the first round.

Thomas Jefferson won eight of the 14 matches wrestled with Mike Zacur (113) and Kale Buckiso (126) registering pins. The Jaguars will face Kiski Area.

Paul Schofield is a Tribune-Review staff writer. Reach him at or via Twitter @Schofield_Trib.

Paul Schofield is a Tribune-Review Staff Writer. You can contact Paul by email at or via Twitter .

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