While that’s not the standard at a wrestling program such as Edison, the Chargers had mostly already scraped away their ceiling, and the roof just wasn’t going to give way for them to get any higher.
With a lineup featuring eight freshmen and sophomores among the 14 spots, Edison once again hit the titanium wall that is top-ranked defending Division III duals state champion Genoa. More specifically, the Murderers’ Row from 132 to 170 pounds, which features a three-time state champion (Dylan D’Emilio) and state-placers in each spot.
After jumping out to an 18-6 lead, the Chargers hit that vaunted stretch and the Comets went technical fall, pin, major decision, pin and pin to all but put away Sunday night’s state team duals title match, handing the Chargers a 52-23 setback at St. John Arena.
“They got six or seven kids that not only were we not going to beat, but most teams in the state couldn’t,” Edison coach Davy Hermes said. “It wasn’t for lack of effort; nobody rolled over. There’s just nowhere to hide from 132 to 170.”
Alec Homan got a first-period pin (1:25) at 106 and Casey Barnett followed with a pin in 3:47 at 113 to make it 12-0 Edison.
Following a brief setback at 120, senior Ray Adams put the Chargers up 18-6 with a big pin (1:17) on Devin D’Emilio at 126.
Edison wouldn’t win another match until Jacob Brewer recorded a quick pin (0:39) at 195.
“We knew there were some heavy hitters there at the beginning for Edison and they did a great job, They found a way to put us on our back,” Comets coach Bob Bergman said. “I like the way that Oscar Sanchez stopped the momentum there at 120 with that pin, and then we got back on track. It’s nice to have a senior right that wave.”
Even with the finals setback, the young Chargers impressed throughout Sunday’s tournament. Brewer stopped a brief hiccup in the semifinals with a big pick-me-up pin at 195, clinching a 45-23 win over third-seeded Versailles.
“That was a huge relief to everyone, I think,” Brewer said. “I can’t take the credit for winning us that dual, though. The guys in front of me all day were getting the points to get me in a spot like that.”
Brewer, who has been a bit of a wildcard for the Chargers after battling back from a football injury, has lost twice this season — to wrestler from Michigan and to the No. 2-ranked wrestler in the state in his weight class.
“He’s coming on strong,” Hermes said of Brewer. “He’s a great athlete for that 195-pound weight class. Unfortunately in the state of Ohio, you don’t find many 195 athletes anymore. He moves well, he’s got good hips, and he’s going to be a handful for anybody coming up at district and state time.”
Brewer manhandled Genoa’s Brian Martin to get a pinfall in the championship dual. It was his third pin of the day.
“I’m loving my time on the mat right now and having a lot of fun with it,” Brewer said. “I’m starting to capitalize when guys are taking bad shots, putting them to their back and getting my points. And I have a lot more confidence in my own offense. I’m shooting when I want and hitting my setups.”
“When I first came back, my athleticism was what was carrying me for a while. Now I’m starting to really get back in true wrestling shape.”
Edison made quick work of seventh-seeded Bidwell River Valley in the quarterfinals, winning 54-18.
Homan, Barnett, Jared Fantuzzi (120), Adams, Jordan Keegan (145), Shadrick Slone (152), Brewer and Cason Holmes were all double winners for the Chargers in the opening two rounds.
“I’m not disappointed at all in this group,” Hermes said. “I told the kids, ‘If you can walk off the mat at the end of the day knowing you got beat by a better team, there’s no shame in that.’ This year, we weren’t the better team. We knew all year we were the second-best team in the state and I think we showed that all year.
“We went 37-3 in dual meets with 17 freshmen and sophomores on the roster. I think the future is bright and we’ll be back.”
Edison had never won more than 26 dual matches in a season. The 2017 state team duals championship squad won 25.
“We’re ready to go win a third straight Sandusky Bay Conference title next week,” Brewer said.