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BARDSTOWN – It was kind of like being down five, lining up at the opponent's 25-yard-line and having a minute to play.
Anderson County knew there was only one path to a first-ever win over perennial power LaRue County.
“I told Isaac Mason, 'We need a pin,'” a beaming Anderson coach David Lannum said moments after the Bearcats had scored a 42-41 win in the Nelson County quad-match last Wednesday.
Mason, wrestling in the 285-pound class, put LaRue's Charlie Roarx on the mat, then pinned his shoulders for the team victory. It was the only way the Bearcats could emerge victorious going into the final bout of the match.
Under wrestling scoring rules, a decision gives a team only three points, but a pin is good for six. Mason could have tied the score with a technical-fall, which is awarded on a decision of 15 points or more.
“Isaac Mason came up huge for us when we needed it,” senior Chris McDaniel said. McDaniel, one of the team captains, had recorded Anderson's only points when he scored a pin at 145 pounds. It was Anderson's first win in the match after LaRue took the first six classes by pin or forfeit, which counts the same as a pin in scoring.
“We actually had some bad matches in there but we were able to recover from that,” said another captain, Cody Dillow, who started Anderson's own string of pins with a win over LaRue's Matt Stevens at 160 pounds.
Anderson marched on with wins from Max Bowman (170 pounds) and Dillon Harrod at 182. Matt Moses (195) and Landon Poe (220) won by forfeit, setting the stage for Mason's heroics.
“That was one of the best feelings I have had in my four years here,” McDaniel said of beating LaRue.
“That was the first time Anderson has ever beaten LaRue and it was the first time I have beaten LaRue as a coach,” said Lannum, who is in his first year at Anderson, but had coached at Danville High School for several years. “I was just a little bit excited.”
Lannum leapt from his corner when Mason got Roarx's shoulders to the mat and the entire Bearcat team erupted in jubilation.
It is believed to be the biggest name the Bearcats have ever taken down as a team in a dual match. “By far,” McDaniel said, “at least in the time I have been here, it is. And to do it in my senior year, I was going crazy.”
Both teams had two other dual matches scheduled on the night and both posted easy wins over short-handed Thomas Nelson and Nelson County teams.
Anderson might have been a bit short too. “We had about seven not in the lineup tonight,” Lannum said. “We have had several football players come out and they have just come out. We are going to keep them out for a while.”
The football players did not join the team until earlier in the week as they were still working on the gridiron through Nov. 29.
Anderson's victory over LaRue also gives credence to Lannum's assertion that his team could finish among the state's Top 25 teams at the state tournament in February.
“We are going to surprise some people,” Lannum said. “We are working on our techniques now and have to get comfortable on the mat.”
Wednesday, though, there was little comfort, just jubilation.
Said Dillow, “If we get everybody wrestling to their potential, we should be able to do pretty good.”
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