A year after winning the inaugural OVAC Dual Tournament Championship in Class 3A, the Martins Ferry Purple Riders jumped up a class, but have just kept on keeping on under head coach Scott Roth.
The Riders opened their season with a triangular sweep in their home debut and finale Wednesday evening. They took down Indian Creek, 42-30, and Union Local, 45-36.
The Redskins used a late flurry of pins to get past Union Local, 43-33, in the other match contested inside the Tolbert Gymnasium.
Martins Ferry’s Damon Outward and Union Local’s Zach Sowers square off during Wednesday’s tri inside the Tolbert Gymnasium. Outward eventually won by pin.
"It's a good start," Roth, a former state champion for the Riders, said. "We had some kids who showed a lot of improvement from last year, but some of my better guys didn't look so great, but it's early, and we'll take the victories."
The Riders opened the evening by defeating the Redskins despite giving up 24 points right off the bat in forfeits.
Seniors Damon Outward, Zach Coole and Michael Wear all came up big for the Riders.
Outward built a 6-2 lead in the first period and didn't score again, but managed not to allow any points either en route to the decision.
"I think Damon got rode out for like four-and-a-half minutes and it didn't look very good," Roth said. "We definitely need to get him going, but he's been wrestling forever, so it's just getting back into the flow of everything."
Coole and Wear weren't on the mat a combined length of a full match thanks to victories by pin. Coole held his opponent's shoulders down 1:28 into the match and Wear was a winner by fall at the 3:22 mark of his match.
Bryce Coleman also had a strong debut, posting a pin just two seconds before the final buzzer for a key six points. Dennis Russell also posted a pin for the Purple at 132 in 1:25.
Against Union Local, the Riders used four straight pins to pull away from the Jets with Coole igniting the late series of pins, needing just 29 seconds.
Sophomore Jonathan Bodkin followed with a pin at 285, needing only 55 ticks to complete his 2-0 evening.
Thomas Campbell capped a 2-0 night with a pin at 106 at the 57-second mark. Theo Zompoulidis also produced a fall at 113 in 91 seconds.
Outward listened to Roth between the duals because he took his 132-pound match at Zach Sowers of the Jets. The former state qualifier recorded his 87th career victory at the 2:20 mark.
Coleman made himself 2-0 on the season with a pin at 1:05. Also running his record to 2-0 was 152-pounder James Wise, who recorded a 7-4 decison against UL and was a winner by pin in the opener.
Union Local's Matt McFarland put forth a perfect evening. He got a victory by forfeit against the Riders and a pin at 1:27 against Creek.
John Howell also had a perfect night for the Jets, posting two victories. He was a winn with a pin against Ferry at 2:14 and by a 7-2 decision against Indian Creek. Justin Pabin was also perfect on the evening for the Jets.