The gym erupted in celebration. Teammates jumped for joy. The coach performed a double fist-pump.

Freshman Issiah Blackburn had just pinned Crescent Valley junior Brock Love in the 182-pound bout.

"I knew that was a pivotal match against an experienced wrestler," PHS coach Troy Woosley said. "If we won that, I was pretty sure our upper weights were going to win. Issiah's match was the turning point."

Philomath went on to a 48-34 dual victory Wednesday night over the Class 5A Raiders. Blackburn's victory was the third among six straight wins for the Warriors, which trailed the visitors 36-24 earlier in the evening.

"Everyone got a little excited out there, it was pretty great," Blackburn said.

Making Blackburn's story even more improbable was that he entered this season with a past that included no victories at all while wrestling as a sixth- and seventh-grader. He gave up wrestling entirely in the eighth grade and played basketball instead.

"When Issiah got that pin, nobody was expecting it," said junior Kane Rust, who cemented the team's victory with a pin in the heavyweight division. "Everyone was 'OK, that's one of those matches where it's kinda even, but that guy's a little better.' Then the next minute, Issiah's on top of the guy and for the next couple of seconds, he's trying for the pin."

Seniors Dylan Donnell and Joey Howell pinned their opponents at 160 and 170 prior to Blackburn's thrilling victory. Junior Brooks Stearns, senior Jared Minter and Rust then followed with pins of their own to complete the comeback.

"Everybody was excited," Rust said about Blackburn's win. "It was the most excited I've ever been for a match — ever."

Blackburn got off to a slow start in the bout and trailed Love on points heading into the second period. The stick came 3:31 into the match.

Blackburn, who is now 5-1 on the season, usually doesn't wrestle at 182, but Howell moved up to 170 for the dual.

"I still wanted to wrestle varsity really bad, so I went up to 182," Blackburn said.

Blackburn put himself in position to get the pin in quick fashion.

"He just kinda went over me and was about to put me in a half and then I just kinda pushed him off, went over him and then hit him with a reverse half," he said.

It's a particular move that he enjoys.

"In my last tournament, I pinned two kids with the reverse half nelson," Blackburn said. "It's just my favorite move and that's how I just won right there."

Stearns, who is another newcomer to wrestling this season, followed with a pin at 195.

"He was pretty strong. I tried to flip him over once or twice and he wasn't moving, so I had to readjust a couple of times but I finally got him," Stearns said.

Crescent Valley scored half of its points on forfeit victories in the lower weights. Still, the Warriors are competitive in most divisions.

"We're all pretty pumped because we finally have enough people to fill the majority of the weights at a pretty competitive level," Stearns said.

Minter had no problems at 220 and got a pin in just 57 seconds to tie the dual and set up the finale with Rust, who found plenty of motivation.

"Every other time I've wrestled, I was stressed out," Rust said. "This time, I was excited to go wrestle a guy. It was awesome."

Rust was another grappler who competed at a higher-than-usual weight. Embattled in an even duel through the first period, he eventually wore down his opponent.

"I think it was our coaches conditioning us this whole time, making us run the hallways and around the school and stuff," Rust said. "That's one of the biggest reasons I won the match, just conditioning and running every night. Because I tired the guy out and once he was on the ground, that guy almost wanted me to pin him. I still had another round in me."

Crescent Valley won three matches on the mat with Chance Lamer (106), Legend Lamer (145) and Ryan Terwilliger (152).

Philomath got on the scoreboard at 132 with senior Tony Rath's quick pin in 1:07. Senior Keltin Benson followed at 138 with an even quicker pin over his opponent in 54 seconds.

Later at 160 pounds, Donnell worked efficiently for a pin in 41 seconds over his opponent. Howell then took control of his opponent at 170 with a pin in 1:09.

"They were really, really focused all week actually," Woosley said. "They fed off each other as you could see."

After the Warriors' victory, Blackburn's teammates chanted his name.

"He's a good story and we have a lot of good freshmen," Woosley said. "We have five or six who are going to win some matches."

Philomath will hit the mat next on Dec. 21 for a duals tournament at Gladstone.


Philomath 48, Crescent Valley 36


Wednesday at Philomath

106 — Chance Lamer, CV, pinned Blake Brouwer, 2:31.

113 — Owen Cserep, CV, won by forfeit.

120 — Boone Davis, CV, won by forfeit.

126 — Jackson Davis, CV, won by forfeit.

132 — Tony Rath, PHS, pinned Garrett Upton, 1:07.

138 — Keltin Benson, PHS, pinned Mario Settersten, 0:54.

145 — Legend Lamer, CV, pinned Matt Hamlet, 1:27.

152 — Ryan Terwilliger, CV, pinned Jayden Jensen, 1:32.

160 — Dylan Donnell, PHS, pinned Daniel Kontra, 0:41.

170 — Joey Howell, PHS, pinned Nicholas Keller, 1:09.

182 — Issiah Blackburn, PHS, pinned Brock Love, 3:31.

195 — Brooks Stearns, PHS, pinnd Leif Linvog, 2:59.

220 — Jared Minter, PHS, pinned Garrett Olbrich, 0:57.

285 — Kane Rust, PHS, pinned Jesse Keller, 3:57.


Exhibition


106 — Anthony Gimino, CV, pinned Blake Brouwer, 2:44.

132 — Hunter Eveland, CV, pinned Hunter McCaskill, 2:58.

145 — Rio Jensen, PHS, pinned Emily Alvis, 0:49.

145 — Ian Gimino, CV, maj. dec. Morgan French, 11-1.

145 — Zanaida Bresser, CV, pinned Rio Jensen, 2:29.

152 — Cooper Latz, PHS, dec. Kai Schlegelmann, 4-0.

152 —Lane Byer, CV, pinned Cooper Lat, 1:22.

170 — Cody Griffin, PHS, dec. Andrew Vester, 8-3.

170 — Andrew Vester, CV, pinned Corey Aja, 2:31.

182 — Nicholas Keller, CV, pinned Austin Murphree, 1:47.

195 — Connar Kohn, PHS, pinned Leif Linvog, 4:45.

220 — Garrett Olbrich, CV, pinned Kalvin Schunn, 3:34.

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