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Potter stars tested in Steubenville

East Liverpool's Howard Williams and Steubenville's Ethan Pappas face off on Wednesday. (Photo by Joe Catullo)

STEUBENVILLE — Steubenville seniors Ethan Pappas and Aaron Ferguson, each ranked fourth in Division II in their respective weight classes, had to claw their way back to defeat the Williams brothers of East Liverpool on Wednesday.

In the first of the two marquee matchups, Ferguson trailed early in the 160-pound match but wrestled his way back against Eric Williams (ranked 11th) for a slim 3-2 victory.

“Aaron’s a grinder. He can do a lot of different things,” Big Red head coach Michael Blackburn said. “He has nice takedowns but can also go upper body a little bit. If you watch him throughout the match, he’s calm. He knew he was down but just kept working.”

Pappas, meanwhile, had a slightly tougher challenge versus two-time OVAC champion Howard Williams (ranked seventh). In the 170-pound tilt, Howard Williams collected the first five points and spun Pappas around – literally. He had to take an injury timeout, with stars most likely floating around in his mind.

“Howie spun on him to get the two points, and Ethan wasn’t really sure what happened. He doesn’t know if he got hit or anything. But, he was fine after that,” Blackburn said.

The senior toughened it out and earned a 12-9 decision.

“We knew those would be two really good matches,” Blackburn said. “Eric and Howie have been stays in the OVAC the last few years, especially Howie. We love (wrestling them) because we want our guys to match up with really good kids. This was only their third weigh-in this year, so they’re going to be hard to beat.”

Overall, Steubenville won, 72-0, to improve to 7-0 in duals. The Potters, on the other hand, fall to 1-2.

“We’re young, and we didn’t have a couple of tournaments that we canceled like Medina,” East Liverpool head coach Scott Hiemstra said. “We didn’t go to Barnesville or Boardman because we’re young. We’re just trying to get our feet wet.

“I think we got an education (Wednesday). I think it was good for most of our kids.”

Another great match occurred in the 145-pound contest between Steubenville’s Cole Antill and East Liverpool’s Kaleb Bailey. The back-and-forth affair went into overtime, with Antill securing the final two points for a 7-5 decision.

“I can’t say enough about Cole. He’s worked his rear off the last two years to get into the lineup,” Blackburn said. “He’s having a really good year. He’s one of the hardest workers we have, and I love having a kid like that in the lineup.”

The Potters were not Big Red’s original opponent for Wednesday. Originally scheduled was New Phililadephia, but the Quakers recently went into quarantine. Blackburn is grateful that East Liverpool was willing to come down on short notice.

It was extra special because it was senior night. Those honored were Pappas, Ferguson and seventh-ranked Tyler Muldrew (pinned Alyssa Barton in nine seconds at 152 pounds).

“Those three seniors have been three guns for us for a lot of years,” Blackburn said. “We definitely wanted to honor them because they’ve done a lot for Big Red wrestling and the school in general.”

In the other matches, 17th-ranked Cal Beadling (113) pinned Dorian Wright in 2:51. Brandon Kinney (10th at 182) also won with a pin over Liam Campbell in 21 seconds. Anthony Shevlin (120), Kaiden Minella (132) and Savier Faulks (138) earned victories. The others won via forfeit.

“It’s been up and down so far. Because we’re young, we’re a little behind to begin with,” Hiemstra said. “Our numbers our low, but we’re getting better and our future looks bright.”

UP NEXT

East Liverpool: Tentatively travels to Union Local Saturday. Dover also is slated to compete.

Steubenville: Tentatively travels to the Maysville Duals Saturday, then will host Minerva next Wednesday.

“I think the hardest thing is having something scheduled and knowing that it may be canceled the next day, depending on what’s going on,” Blackburn said regarding the COVID-riddled season. “You have to think that each match may be your last. You can’t be upset if something gets canceled. You just have to move on, keep wrestling and look forward to the state championship.”

Steubenville 72, East Liverpool 0

106: Stimpert (S) won by forfeit

113: Beadling (S) pin D. Wright (EL), 2:51

120: Shevlin (S) dec. A. Wright (EL), 7-0

126: Hill (S) won by forfeit

132: Minella (S) pin Lara (EL), :33

138: Faulks (S) pin Newlun (EL), :54

145: Antill (S) dec. Bailey (EL), 7-5 OT

152: Muldrew (S) pin Barton (EL), :09

160: Ferguson (S) dec. E. Williams (EL), 3-2

170: Pappas (S) dec. H. Williams, 12-9

182: Kinney (S) dec. Campbell, :21

195: King (S) won by forfeit

220: Ostovich (S) won by forfeit

285: Harper (S) won by forfeit

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