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ROLESVILLE — After losing to Rolesville at home Dec. 7, Heritage’s wrestling team avenged themselves by beating the Rams 48-33 on the road during Rolesville’s senior night on Jan. 15.
The contest came down to just a handful of wrestlers with the score 33-30 in Rolesville’s favor. Then Heritage’s Zachary Steamer pinned Rolesville’s Carl Bettinghaus in the third period of the 285-pound match to give the Huskies a 36-33 lead.
After that, Heritage’s John Helmers pinned Rolesville’s Mohammad Zamen in the third period of the 120-pound bout to secure the win at 42-33. Ryan Handibode finished things off for the Huskies by pinning Rolesville’s Josh Johnson in the second period of the 126-pound match.
Heritage head coach Thomas Durham said the biggest surprise at the night came from Steamer. He added that he was proud of Helmers for getting the job done and securing victory for the Huskies.
“I wasn’t expecting that kind of performance out of Zach,” Durham said. “We knew (we) were going to need a win either from John Helmers or Ryan Handibode at the very end.”
With the win, Steamer improved to 9-6 overall for the year. Durham mentioned that his 285-pounder has been inconsistent all season, but was happy with him stepping up in a crucial NAC 6 conference clash.
“Zach just needs a little bit more faith in himself,” Durham said. “When he wants to wrestle, he can wrestle. We needed him to step up today. Rolesville is a very good team. Their senior wanted to win on senior night and Zach just took it to him.”
Heritage won a total of eight individual matches at Rolesville with one of them being a forfeit. All seven wins were done by pinning the opponent, which led to 6-point victories rather than 3 points, which made the difference in scoring at the end.
“I told the guys that we needed to win by pins tonight against a team like Rolesville,” Durham said. “We can’t get pinned either. That was the biggest difference in tonight’s match. If we can get a kid on their back and get the pin, that’s huge.”
At the Husky Duals on Dec. 7, Heritage lost to Rolesville 54-30 in a match that didn’t count toward their conference record. This time, the Huskies got the win when it mattered most.
With the loss, Rolesville dropped to 3-1 in NAC 6 conference play. Heritage moves up to 3-1 in the NAC 6 with a tie-breaker over Rolesville.
“We lost to Rolesville in our dual tournament 54-30,” Durham said. “I’m sure the wrestlers were not happy the way things ended up last time. The kids have finally gotten into their appropriate weight classes and got in shape. Tonight, I think we turned a corner in our program.”
Since Corinth Holders defeated Knightdale 115-18 Jan. 15, the Pirates will finish the regular season as the NAC 6 conference champs after their final match against Rolesville at home Thursday, Jan. 30.
Even if Corinth Holders loses to Rolesville, Heritage can’t win the conference because they lost to the Pirates in their head-to-head match-up Dec. 11.
For now, Heritage is focused on beating rival Wake Forest to at least finish second in the NAC 6 conference standings and secure a 4A state playoff berth. The Huskies will take on the Cougars at home Wednesday, Jan. 29 at 7 p.m.
“We beat Wake Forest for the first time last year, so the kids are hungry for more,” Durham said. “It’s a rivalry. They want to come and ruin our senior night. It is not going to be an easy match. It’s going to be a tough one.”