Few matches could sum up Friday night’s showdown between the wrestling teams from Haddon Township High School and Haddonfield Memorial better than the bout at 160 pounds between the Hawks’ Dan Clemente and the Bulldawgs’ John Tedeschi.
The two wrestlers matched up incredibly well, with Clemente getting the upper-hand by the slightest of margins and eventually winning 8-7. His victory was one of three, one-point Haddon Township wins that helped the Hawks pull away with a 39-21 victory.
“I knew it was going to be a fun match and a closely contested match,” Haddon Township coach Brian Farnham said. “Tonight, we won pretty much all of the close matches and that was the difference.”
Haddon Township held a 9-0 lead entering the bout at 160, having won the previous three matches by decision. Tedeschi looked like he was going to get Haddonfield right back in the match when he gained a 7-5 advantage in the third period. However, Clemente earned an escape and had a match-deciding takedown with 15 seconds left to score the win.
“I just tried to get out of the (bad) situations I was in and try to maneuver my way out and do the best I can to get more points than he had,” Clemente said. “I came up clutch and got more points.”
Clemente had the look of a confident wrestler throughout his match, but admitted to being worried when he trailed late in the final period.
“I was concerned when I got picked up and dropped on my back,” he said. “I was able to get out of it and then make my move.”
Sean Jones (1-0) and Elijah Camacho (5-4) followed with one-point victories of their own as the Hawks built a 18-0 lead that put the Bulldawgs in a hole they were unable to get out of.
Peter Rhodes and Charlie O’Neill each recorded a pin while Henry Kalus won by forfeit for the Bulldawgs, who fell to 2-4.
Haddonfield had gotten the better of the rivalry as of late, but the Hawks were able to get their first win against their rival in the past four years.
“It’s a pretty big deal because we haven’t won against Haddonfield for awhile,” said Clemente. “We just wanted to have a big win against this team and come out and have the best match we could.”
“You have to give our kids credit. Whether they had one, two or 10 years wrestling, they were wrestling for six minutes and are starting to do the things we are coaching,” Farnham said. “They are keeping it basic, not trying to get fancy and when you keep it fundamental and work hard, good things happen.”
The Hawks improved to 3-1 heading into Wednesday’s crucial contest with Colonial Conference favorite Paulsboro.
“(Beating Haddonfield) is a big boost,” Farnham said. “We are heading into the teeth of our schedule with teams like Paulsboro, but I like our individual improvement. We just have to continue to improve as individuals as we move forward.”