Marple Newton beats Upper Darby in thriller

Posted: February 09, 2012

With the match tied at 28 and one bout to go, Marple Newtown sophomore Pat Callaghan admitted to feeling the pressure.

"I was nervous. I'm not going to lie," said Callaghan, a 132-pounder. "My legs were shaking.

But with the raucous and near-capacity crowd chanting, "Let's go, Pat!" loud and often, and his teammates all on their feet, Callaghan seemed to have all the support he needed.

Callaghan scored a decisive, 8-5 win over Upper Darby's Matt Carney in the final bout to give the Tigers a thrilling 31-28 victory over visiting Upper Darby on Wednesday night.

The win breaks an undefeated tie atop the Central League, giving Marple Newtown sole possession of first place as it remains on track to claim its first league title since 1988.

Callaghan's win yielded the Tigers' first lead of the night. Upper Darby won five of the opening six matches for a 19-6 lead. Marple responded by taking four of the next five to pull to within six.

Aaron Moldoff's pin of Anthony Petril at 113 pounds tied it at 25. Upper Darby's Long Le then used a late takedown to earn a tight overtime victory over Ed Callaghan, Pat's older brother, and put the Royals up by three points with two matches remaining.

Marple's Ryan Flynn countered with a decision over Ken McGowan at 120 to knot the match entering the last bout.

That's when the crowd, almost evenly distributed between fans of both teams, began shaking the bleachers with stomps of their feet and wild cheers. It was so loud that first-year Marple coach Don Tabar couldn't even relay instructions to Callaghan when he was on the mat.

"Pat knows what to do. He knows to wrestle hard for six minutes and keep going and try to break the guy," Tabar said. "That second takedown that he got, he looked over and gave me a look. I knew when he looked at me he was like, 'Coach, I got this.' "

Callaghan used four takedowns, worth two points each, to Carney's five escape points to win it.

Marple got pins from Tom Antista (106), Ken Smith (220), and Moldoff. For Smith (26-3), it was his 16th fall this season.

The Royals, who entered the match with a 38.33 average margin of victory against the rest of the league, received one pin, from heavyweight Ayitey Kwei-Quaye.

"The match was as good as you can write a script," Royals coach Bob Martin said. "It was a good match to watch if you didn't care who won. Unfortunately, I cared a little bit."

Marple has two league matches remaining: Saturday against Ridley (8-1 entering Wednesday) and against Lower Merion on Monday.

Win both, and the Tigers would own the league crown outright. The big hurdle will be Ridley, which Upper Darby beat, 38-30, on Dec. 21.

The Results

MARPLE NEWTOWN 31, UPPER DARBY 28

138: Jimmy Bongard, Upper Darby, major dec. Greg Pfeffinger, 9-1. 145: Nick Roussakis, Upper Darby, dec. Matt Wilkinson, 5-2 (overtime). 152: Tom Antista, Marple Newtown, pin Raeqwan Maxwell, 4:18. 160: Caleb Livingston, Upper Darby, win by forfeit. 170: Charlie Livingston, Upper Darby, dec. Markos Katrakazis, 10-4. 182: Mike Kitain, Upper Darby, dec. Justin Pizzi, 6-0. 195: Chris Kurkian, Marple Newtown, major dec. Josh Yeboah-Gyasi, 11-3. 220: Ken Smith, Marple Newtown, pin Fred Marcellino, 1:32. Hwt.: Ayitey Kwei-Quaye, Upper Darby, pin Zach Falcone, 1:59. 106: Jason Rinaldi, Marple Newtown, dec. Austin Petril, 2-1. 113: Aaron Moldoff, Marple Newtown, pin Anthony Petril, 3:03. 120: Long Le, Upper Darby, dec. Ed Callaghan, 6-4, (overtime). 126: Ryan Flynn, Marple Newtown, dec. Ken McGowan, 7-2. 132: Pat Callaghan, Marple Newtown, dec. Matt Carney, 8-5.


Contact Evan Burgos at rallysports@phillynews.com.

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