CARTHAGE, Mo. — The Neosho wrestling team continued to make its case as one of the best prep programs in the state on Tuesday as it cruised to a 51-20 dual victory over Carthage in the Black and Blue Brawl at Carthage High School.
The Wildcats (17-1), ranked No. 1 in Class 3, claimed nine victories with seven pins, one decision and one medical forfeit to hand Carthage (12-1) its first setback of the season.
“We always know Carthage is going to bring a fight to us,” Neosho coach Jeremy Phillips said. “I was excited about the evening, and I was telling my kids to embrace the test that they were going to give us. And I thought they did.”
Neosho opened the dual with back-to-back pins by Raymond Hembree and Landon Kivett at the 106- and 113-pound weight classes, respectively. And nine matches later, Jeremiah Larson logged a fall over Obed Gonzalez to put the dual out of reach for Carthage as the Wildcats took a 39-17 lead with three matches remaining.
Despite the lopsided score late in the dual, a packed crowd inside the CHS gymnasium remained for the night’s featured match between Carthage’s Kale Schrader and Neosho’s Drayke Perry, both ranked No. 1 in their respective classes at 220.
And the highly anticipated matchup lived up to its billing as Schrader claimed a 6-4 victory in overtime over Perry to improve his season record to 17-0. After regulation ended in a 4-4 tie, Schrader defended a low-level shot from Perry and scrambled for a match-winning takedown in the first OT period.
Perry held a 3-2 lead midway through the third period before Schrader was awarded a takedown with a side headlock near the edge of the boundary circle with 29 seconds to go. Perry then tied the match with an escape point and nearly recorded a match-winning takedown of his own on a double leg that was ruled out of bounds with just seconds remaining in regulation.
“Kale is a top-ranked kid in the country,” Phillips said. “We knew that, and we’ve wrestled some tough, tough kids that prepared us to go in there and compete tonight. And we did. It didn’t go our way, but I believe there’s some work Drayke can do. I’m sure they’ll see each other again at some point.”
“Those two will get to see each other at least one more time at the COC tournament,” Carthage coach Kenny Brown said. “So I’m sure it’ll be another interesting one. ... I think we were forcing most of the action tonight, and (Perry) was just countering us. So that probably fatigued us a bit, but once he started taking shots, we started scoring.”
Heavyweight Zane Persinger capped Neosho’s night with a third-period fall over Alexis Vasquez to bring the dual to its final score. Other Wildcats registering falls included Kolton Sanders (132), Cayden Such (152) and Caleb Elliott (195).
At 138, Eric Holt claimed a 14-7 decision decision over Davion King to widen the Neosho lead to 21-9. Keaton Sanders defeated Luke Gall by medical forfeit at 170 to balloon the Wildcats’ lead to 33-17.
Carthage claimed back-to-back wins at 120 and 126 to briefly claim momentum as it trimmed the Neosho lead to 12-9 early in the dual. Tanner Russow (120) provided Carthage’s first points of the night with a 4-0 decision over Hayden Crane, and then Selvin Estrada (126) brought the Carthage crowd to a frenzy with a fall over Eli Zar as he trailed 7-4 in the second period.
“It definitely was a big momentum shift,” Brown said. “The place erupted and it was nice, but we just didn’t do anything with that momentum like we needed to. But the big thing is we have to learn from this. We faced a really good Neosho team and competed hard, but now we have to understand what we need to fix to get better from this experience.”
Kelten Campbell (160) rounded out the Carthage victors with a 12-4 major decision over Cade Daniel.