KNOXVILLE — Jacob Williams’ first match of the season didn’t get off to a good start.
Less than 30 seconds in, he was down 5-0 to Knoxville’s Brock Caviness and fighting off his back in a match at 220 pounds.
Wanting to start this season on a good note, Williams turned things around in a hurry.
“I was getting angry at him and decided enough was enough,” the junior said.
With that, he reversed Caviness to his back and held him for an eventual pin with 27 seconds left in the first round.
“Jacob never gives up and is never going to quit,” Cardinals coach Bill Reed said. “Sometimes he gets himself in positions he doesn’t need to be in, but he’s strong and works hard. He got things under control and finished it the way he needed to.”
Williams’ pin was one of the highlights of Newton’s 48-30 loss in its season-opening dual at Knoxville Thursday night, which started out quite well for the Cards but was mostly downhill from there. Newton won the night’s first four matches and led 21-0, but won only two of the next 10.
“We got pinned in a couple matches I thought we had a good shot at winning,” Reed said. “The other matches went pretty much as I was expecting.”
In all, Newton won six of the 14 matches, with four via pin. But it also was pinned in seven of the eight matches it lost.
“A few guys need to work a little harder to get bonus points for us when they can,” Reed said. “It was a good learning experience. We’ll be better Saturday.”
On Saturday the Cards host their annual Cardinal Invitational, a six team varsity invitational that will provide some good early-season experience.
Thursday’s dual got off to about as good of start for Newton as Cardinal fans could have asked for. It got underway at 195 pounds, where Newton junior Ray Schroder repeatedly made good use of a standing single-leg takedown on his way to an 11-5 victory. He had four takedowns in the win.
Williams was up next at 220 and his pin gave Newton a 9-0 lead early.
The next four matches flew by, as each ended with a pin within the first 70 seconds. At 285, Newton senior Derrick Hurt avoided a headsteal throw from Knoxville’s Dalton Hall that led to a takedown and then a pin in 36 seconds.
That brought up Cardinals’ sophomore Koby Hull at 106, where he made quick work of Panthers freshman Ben Wooldridge with an immediate takedown right to his back for a pin in just 19 seconds. That made it 21-0 in favor of Newton.
But Knoxville roared back with three straight pins over Cardinal freshmen to close within 21-18. Jac Fisher fell at 113, Alex Bentley was pinned at 113 and Bryce Tish was downed at 126.
At 132, Newton sophomore Dakota Dawson earned a tough 2-0 victory in a defensive battle against Panthers sophomore Nolan Crossett. Knoxville came back with a pin over Cardinals senior Devin Miller at 138 to tie the match at 24-24.
Newton freshman Nicoli Allspach made his high school debut at 145, and made it it a good one. He trailed 2-0 after one period to Knoxville senior Dom Clark and was down 3-1 until he scored a takedown with 38 seconds left in the second and then got two big nearfall points just in the period’s final seconds to go up 5-3. Riding the momentum, Allspach began the third period with a quick reversal that took Clark to his back and held him for a pin with 1:39 left in the match.
“I just stuck with it,” Allspach said. “The conditioning we’ve been doing helped a lot. I kept with it and stayed smart.”
“Nicoli has a lot of mat time in,” Reed added. “He’s been waiting to wrestle varsity for a while. He’s going to wrestle better than you’ll see most varsity freshmen. It’s going to be fun to watch him develop this year.”
Allpach’s win gave Newton a 30-24 lead, but it disappeared quickly. The Panthers closed out the match with pins over senior Jacob Herduin at 152, sophomore Jeff Thongvanh at 160 and junior Sean Cook at 170 before ending the night receiving a forfeit at 182.
With their first-match jitters out of the way, the Cardinals now can look forward to putting several matches under their belt Saturday at home.
“We run a round-robin format, so kids are wrestling the whole time,” Reed said about the Cardinal Invitational. “There’s going to be some tough kids at this tournament. I know we have three to four guys that plan on taking first or second.”
Saturday’s wrestling begins at 10 a.m.
Knoxville 48, Newton 30
106: Koby Hull (N) pinned Ben Wooldrige in :19. 113: Colton Havens (K) pinned Jac Fisher in :40. 120: Skylar Cunningham (K) pinned Alex Bentley in 1:04. 126: James Sittsworth (K) pinned Bryce Tish in 3:02. 132: Dakota Dawson (N) dec. Nolan Crossett, 2-0. 138: Kieran Robuck (K) pinned Devin Miller in 3:46. 145: Nicoli Allspach (N) pinned Dom Clarke in 4:21. 152: Hamp Kindley (K) pinned Jacob Herduin in 2:58. 160: Tyler Chatterton (K) pinned Jeff Thongvanh in 2:36. 170: Aaron Crossett (K) pinned Sean Cook in 1:01. 182: Colton Spaur (K) received a forfeit. *195: Ray Schroder (N) dec. Jac Agan, 11-5. 220: Jacob Williams (N) pinned Brock Caviness in 1:33. 285: Derrick Hurt (N) pinned Dalton Hall in :36.