Dontay Gill completes comeback in battle of NFL wrestling unbeatens
By John D'Onofrio Lockport Union-Sun & Journal
And just think. Next week we get to do this all over again.
It was a sweet, hard-fought victory in Wednesday’s battle of Niagara Frontier League wrestling unbeatens, but Lockport’s thrilling, 41-33 come-from-behind victory over Niagara-Wheatfield was just the first of two giant hurdles standing between them and a potential Niagara Frontier League wrestling title.
Head coach Joe Scapelliti’s Lions led early, then trailed for most of the match. It came down to the final bout of the afternoon in the 106-pound division between Lockport’s Dontay Gill and Niagara-Wheatfield’s Jacob DeWolf. With the large crowd on hand screaming at the top of their lungs, Gill pinned DeWolf in 2:48 and the Lions celebrated their biggest win of the season thus far, improving to 5-0.
“Before the match I was thinking, ‘This is all or nothing. If I lose, we lose,’ “ Gill said. “I’m glad I won. He was pretty good on his feet.”
Gill’s win by fall capped a 12-point comeback win for the Lions with just four matches left to play. Taylor started the comeback with a nine-second pin over Josh Edwards of the Falcons at 220 pounds. Taylor pounced on Edwards at the start, drove him straight back then straight down to the mat with a giant bear hug where he pounced on him and finished him off one second longer than his fastest pin so far this year.
“I just did what I had to do,” Taylor said. “This was a big win for us. Both teams want the league championship. I’m a senior and I told the team this is their last opportunity to bring the team back to the place where it should be, as league champions.”
Taylor’s win by fall cut the N-W lead down to 33-25. Hinton followed with an impressive third-round pin at 285 over Brandon Ferguson that cut the Falcons lead down to 33-31.
“I was just doing what my coaches told me to do,” said the football standout Hinton, now 20-4 on the season. “Football helped me a lot in wrestling with my feet. Footwork goes a long way in wrestling.”
Lockport’s standout 99-pound wrestler, Mitch Seaver, still another product of the Lockport Kids Wrestling Club, followed that up with a 14-2 “major decision” victory over Warren McDougald of the Falcons (4-1 NFL).
“I knew I could win because I’ve beaten him before a number of times,” Seaver said. “Today’s win was really important because we knew this was pretty much going to decide who won the league.”
Seaver’s win set the stage for Gill’s thrilling pin victory in the final match of the day.
Steven Kapuscinski had opened the match with a 4-2 overtime win over Vincent Falvo, 4-2, at 113 pounds.
“I’m glad I won because I wrestled him last year and lost, 6-2,” Kapuscinski said. “He’s strong.”
Marquis Sanders earned an important win by fall at 138 pounds for the Lions, pinning Josh Kelly in 4:26; and Kirk Feeney earned a major decision win at 152 pounds.
“Our guys really stepped up with big wins for us tonight,” Scapelliti said. “Guys like Steve Kapuscinski starting us off with an overtime win and Marquis Sanders getting a pin for us — those were huge for us tonight. I think they thought they were going to get a win against Marquis and he did a great job getting a win by fall.
“And of course the guys we expected to win came through. Guys like like Mitch Seaver, Marshall Taylor, Marcelus Hinton, Kirk Feeney and Dontay Gill went out and did their job. We had a couple of starters out of the line-up tonight, so we were scratching and clawing.”
Head coach Rick Sweeney’s Falcons entered the match on a positive note, having recently defeated previously-unbeaten Lewiston-Porter, 37-31.
“We prepared for this one all week because we knew they’d be tough,” Sweeney said. “We adjusted a few kids and caught them off guard with that, but Joe does a great job and his fill-ins did a nice job against our tough kids.”
Coach Scapelliti said he expected a close match.
“It was as close as we expected. They’re a really good team and they’re improving tremendously as the year goes on,” Scapelliti said. “ We knew what we were in for tonight.”
The Lions return to league action today with a match against Kenmore East. They host once-beaten Lew-Port in their league finale at 5 p.m. next Wednesday.
Newfane 62Medina 16
MEDINA — The Panthers locked up the 2013-14 Niagara-Orleans League title Wednesday with a big road win at Medina.
Chris Johnstone (120), Andrew Galeon (126), Paul Dunbar (138), Chris Johnstone (195) and Casey Kubiniec (285) all earned pins for the Panthers (5-0 N-O).
Johnstone pinned Bryce Bellon of the Mustangs in 46 seconds, Galeon pinned Hunter Freeman in 5:16, Dunbar pinned Jacob Covert in 3:57, Johnstone stopped Ryan Krugar in 1:40; and Kubiniec pinned Weber Pitlardc in 1:18.
In two other matches won by Newfane, Julian Nixon earned a tech fall win over Austin Bellon at 99 pounds, while at 220 pounds, Jake Warner beat Kalvin Packer, 7-1.
Brendon Callara (106) earned the sole pin for the Mustangs (2-3 N-O).
Lockport 69,Lew-Port 23
YOUNGSTOWN — Head coach Karen Catalano’s Lady Lions earned their second big win of the week on the road Wednesday night.
LHS junior forwards Alyssa Wagner (7 rebounds, 3 steals) and Hailey Bechtold (3 steals, 2 assists) led all scorers with 12 points apiece with Bechtold draining two 3-pointers. Kathryn Krchniak (4 rebounds, 3 steals) and Brooklyn Camarra added 10 points apiece for Lockport (8-1 NFL, 8-3 overall). The Lady Lancers remain winless in the NFL and overall.
Also for Lockport, Gretta Dry had 8 points and 5 steals, Roserita DiMillo added 2 rebounds and 3 steals, Kennedy Smith had 5 rebounds, a steal and an assist; and Sara Franco chipped in with 9 points, an assist, 5 rebounds and 2 blocked shots.