LAURINBURG — It took some work, but the Richmond wrestling team pulled out a 45-30 win at Scotland on Wednesday.
“That’s called survival,” head coach Earl Nicholson said. “We’re kind of piecing together a lineup right now. We had six starters out who were with us two weeks ago, but the back-up guys stepped it up and did what we needed them to do.”
Austin Gallop kicked off the night with his match against Scotland’s Ethan Locklear in the 152-pound weight class. He was trailing 1-2 at the end of the first period but was able to score six points in the next frame in order to take a three-point lead heading into the final two minutes.
Locklear gained momentum in the third period by scoring four straight points and taking an 8-7 lead with less than a minute left. Gallop, however, was able to score two points on a late flip and then add two more before time ran out — winning an 11-8 decision and giving his team three early points.
“That was a big win for him,” Nicholson said of Gallop’s decision. “He’s had trouble with strong guys — and that’s exactly what he was wrestling tonight. But he just stayed the course and finally broke through.”
The Raiders lost the next two matches — at 160 and 170 — by pin fall in the first period and found themselves down 12-3 on the scoreboard. Porter Gregory was pinned by Charles Wall (Scotland) with 1:01 still on the clock and Tyler Nifong’s match with Jeremiah McRimmon (Scotland) ended with 1:16 left.
Senior Brandon Nifong scored Richmond’s first pin of the night in arguably his toughest match of the season. He and Scotland’s Ja’Quan Carr went back and forth in the first two periods and were tied 9-9 when the third period started.
After Carr took an 11-9 lead in the final stanza, there was a break in action and Brandon Nifong was walked off the mat by Nicholson and an athletic trainer. The senior was given some water and took a few minutes to regroup.
Once the match resumed, Brandon Nifong — who’s now 18-0 on the year — regained control of the bout and was able to pin Carr with 59 seconds remaining.
“That was his first time (this season) having to get pushed. It started catching up with him but he battled through,” Nicholson said. “That was big because if he goes down, the other guys start to get down on themselves and it might not be a good night for us.”
Richmond and Scotland would split the next six matches — leaving only three points between the two of them heading into the final stretch. The Raiders racked up 18 points courtesy of Skylar Standridge, Joey Nicholson and Steven Morales, while the Scots got pins from Ian Smith and Andrew Curric and a win by forfeit in the 120-pound class.
With only three matches left in the contest, and the Raiders trailing 27-30, Matthew Haber stepped up at 132 and pinned his opponent in order to give Richmond a 33-30 lead. Marcus Hester took the mat next and sealed the deal for the Raiders with his win by pin over Cameron Robinson.
Zachariah Hamilton capped the night by pinning Leshawn Tyson-Smith with five seconds left in the second period.
“Marcus beat one of their better wrestlers, so that was a big match for us,” Nicholson added.
Richmond will hit the road for a multi-team meet on Saturday, where it will face off against two teams it has already seen this season in Southwestern Randolph — the host of the meet — and Asheboro. The Raiders defeated Southwestern Randolph in their season opener, but have lost to Asheboro twice.
“Southwestern has given us good matches, so we’ve got to wrestle a little bit better to beat them again,” Nicholson added. “I think we should have about three of our pieces back Saturday… I believe in us. I think we’ll get it done.”
Full results from Wednesday’s wrestling match at Scotland:
152 — Austin Gallop (Richmond) wins 11-8 decision over Ethan Locklear (Scotland)
160 — Charles Wall (Scotland) pins Porter Gregory (Richmond) in 1st period
170 — Jeremiah McRimmon (Scotland) pins Tyler Nifong (Richmond) in 1st period
182 — Brandon Nifong (Richmond) pins Ja’Quan Carr (Scotland) in 3rd period
195 — Ian Smith (Scotland) pins Kaleel Brown (Richmond) in 2nd period
220 — Skylar Standridge (Richmond) pins Deonta Harrington (Scotland) in 1st period
285 — Knowledge Patterson (Scotland) pins Christian Priest (Richmond) in 1st period
113 — Joey Nicholson (Richmond) pins Andrew Curric (Scotland) in 1st period
120 — Seth English (Scotland) wins by forfeit
126 — Steven Morales (Richmond) pins Brendon Smith (Scotland) in 2nd period
132 — Matthew Haber (Richmond) pins Ethan Tone (Scotland) in 3rd period
138 — Marcus Hester (Richmond) pins Cameron Robinson (Scotland) in 3rd period
145 — Zachariah Hamilton (Richmond) pins Leshawn Tyson-Smith (Scotland) in 2nd period
Reach sports editor Leon Hargrove Jr. by phone at 910-817-2673 or by email at [email protected] For stories, scores and updates, follow the Daily Journal’s sports section on Twitter @RCDailySports.