Allegan emerges with dramatic comeback victory over Otsego
With 13 weight classes down and only one to go, the Wolverine Conference wrestling match between Allegan and Otsego on Wednesday, Jan. 16, hung in the balance as the Bulldogs clung to a 39-36 lead.
And that’s exactly how Allegan assistant coach Joe Desrochers envisioned it would be.
“Earlier today, I sat down and wrote out how I thought the meet would go,” said Desrochers, who was filling in for head coach Phillip Joseph. “That’s pretty much the way I had it going. I knew these were two evenly matched teams and I had it coming down to the final match.”
That final match, featuring Allegan’s Zakary Foster taking on Otsego’s Jessiejames Roe at 215 pounds, went back and forth, with the lead changing hands three times in the third period. Then, with time winding down and his team’s fate hanging in the balance, Foster got the opening he needed and secured the pin with 16 seconds remaining in the match to give Allegan the 42-39 victory.
The Tigers trailed 39-24 with three matches remaining and started the match in a 21-0 hole.
“This was a great high school wrestling match,” Desrochers said. “It was a great atmosphere, with the crowd into it on both sides. The big thing for us was we never got down, even when the score wasn’t in our favor. We kept on believing in each other and found a way to grind out a win.”
Desrochers felt good heading into the final match despite the three-point deficit.
“We have a lot of faith in Zak,” Desrochers said. “He knew we needed a pin from him because we didn’t want it to come down to criteria (if Foster had won by decision and the score was tied at 39-39). He did what we needed him to do.”
Foster entered the third period holding a 3-2 lead, but Roe went up 4-3 nine seconds into the period. From there, Foster went up 5-4, Roe went up 6-5, it was tied at 6-6 and Foster went up 8-6. That’s where the score stood when Foster came through with the pin.
“It was a great way to cap off a great match,” Derochers said.
While Allegan finished the evening in a celebratory mood, it was Otsego that began the evening that way.
Jakob Slater opened the meet by pinning Allegan’s Jeremy Neese in the second period at 285 pounds to give the Bulldogs a quick lead. A forfeit win by Aiden Grimm at 103, a 6-0 decision by Noah Corradini (over Johnathan Sebestra) at 112 and a pin by Josh Sunnerville (against Austin Fulmer) at 119 followed, giving Otsego the 21-0 lead.
Allegan picked up its first win by Tyson Emmons at 125 via a void, but Otsego got a pin from Gavin Gregory (over Michael DeKoff) at 130 and Peyton Bohl won by a void at 135 to make push Otsego’s lead to 33-6.
“Even though we were down, we didn’t panic,” Derochers said. “We knew we had some point available in the upcoming matches.”
The Tigers ended up with 18 points from the next three matches, as Tyson Mead pinned Kyloe Engleright at 140 before Tyler Mead (145) and Tristan Mohrland (152) both won by voids.
A pin from Otsego’s Jacob Case over Michael Massey at 160 put the Bulldogs up 39-24 with three matches remaining.
Allegan won all three, as Tristan Jacobs got a void at 171 and Benjamin Powers pinned Nik Chambers at 189 to set up the showdown between Foster and Roe.