COAL CITY — In recent years, Central has posed a serious challenge for Coal City’s powerhouse of a program, even delivering the mighty Coalers a defeat two seasons ago, but this year’s Comets squad finds itself a little more ill-equipped to keep up.
Central is in a rebuilding phase this season with a large crop of youngsters and a slight lack of veterans — a reality made clear by the result of the Coalers’ 64-6 win on Tuesday.
“We only had two juniors and a senior that are in the lineup. Everybody else is really young for us, so we’re just hoping to learn from these things and get better,” Central head coach Travis Williams said. “I’m really excited for what we saw from Dane Thorne at 138 (pounds) against someone who he has wrestled quite a bit and from Auston Miler at 160 against someone he hasn’t seen since junior high.
“Other than that, though, It’s one of those matchups where we can learn some things and try to get a little more aggressive as we pick things up and move forward.”
Thorne and Miller each secured wins via decision to notch the Comets’ only points of the evening, while the Coalers dominated the rest of the weight classes with nine pins, two decisions and a major decision.
Gabe Ludes (152 pounds) and Gage Leake (220) were particularly dominant for the Coalers with pins just 49 and 35 seconds, respectively. Reigning state champion Daniel Jezik also earned a resounding win in the first round with a pin in 1:48 of Cade Alexander at 195 pounds.
“It went better than I thought it might be. Obviously they had some tough kids at 138 and 160, but I was really happy with what we did against Central,” said Coal City coach Mark Masters. “Historically, they have been very good and they’ve had some close duals against us over the years and we got beaten by them a couple of years ago on this date down in Pontiac.
“Obviously, expectations are high and I thought we would probably be a little further along than what we are with eight or nine returners coming back,” he added. “I’m proud of where those guys are at, but I was just hoping to see some of our other guys coming a long a bit faster. They’re moving forward, don’t get me wrong, but I hoped we would look just a little bit better than we have.”
Masters’ refusal to settle for anything but the best his team can give is a big reason the Coalers’ program has attained its high levels of prestige statewide. Though he was again focused on getting better following the win, a 58-point victory over a program like Central’s is nothing to sniff at.
If that’s the kind of result they produce when they are underachieving, one can only imagine what they will do when they’re playing up to the program’s lofty standards.
Following their defeat of Central, the Coalers moved on to demolish Pontiac by nearly the same margin with a 64-12 win.
Leake was dominant again in win number two with another quick pin at 220 pounds, this time in 51 seconds. Ludes also snagged another victory in a 6-4 decision and Luke Kutemeier bounced back from his loss to Thorne earlier in the meet with a first round pin against Pontiac at 138.