When two-time state qualifier Buck Sampson injured his back last month at work, Calvert Coach Dave Kistler asked freshman wrestler Matt Bancroft to fill his slot at 125 pounds. Tuesday night, Bancroft pinned his opponent in 41 seconds and led Calvert to a 39-33 win over Lackey in a Southern Maryland Athletic Conference match in Indian Head.
Last season, Calvert (4-1) won the SMAC and Maryland 4A/3A South Region titles and finished fourth at the state 4A/3A meet. Lackey (1-2) finished third at the SMAC tournament.
"This was a big win for us," said Kistler, whose team led 39-3 after the 145-pound match. "A lot of our younger kids who are returning from last year have been struggling a little bit. But now they're coming alive."
Calvert won seven of the first eight matches, five by pin. Besides Bancroft, sophomore Clinton Parker (103) and juniors Justin Brittain (135), Justin Holman (140) and Dustin Little (145) all picked up pins.
"We haven't had that many pins [in a match] all season," Kistler said. "Hopefully, it continues."
The best match of the night was the 119-pound match between Calvert sophomore Max Buff and Lackey junior Josh McKeever. Buff, a sophomore, won the SMAC and 4A/3A South Region titles last season at 119 and McKeever, a junior, won the SMAC and 2A/1A South Region titles last season at 112.
Buff took a 2-0 lead in the first period, but McKeever tied the match with a reversal midway through the second period. Buff retook the lead with seven seconds left in the second period and rode McKeever out the rest of the way for a crucial 4-2 win.
"That match gave us a lot of momentum," Kistler said. "Max and Josh are both region champions, and they both wrestled well. I was real happy with the way Max rode him out in the third period and did not give up any points."
Little's pin at 145 clinched the match for Calvert, but Lackey finished with five straight pins to make the final score close.
"Our big guys did an outstanding job tonight, and they are to be commended," Lackey Coach Terry Green said. "But we can't keep putting pressure on our [wrestlers at 152 pounds] on up. Our [lightweights] have to learn to stay off their backs."
Bancroft, who is 11-2 this season with five pins, knows what he has to do the rest of the season, as well: He said he wants to keep putting wrestlers on their backs and maintain his spot in the lineup when Sampson returns.
"This has been a good experience," said Bancroft, who placed fourth at the Chopticon Tournament and is undefeated in dual matches. "I'm not sure what's going to happen when Buck comes back, but I'll wrestle him and see what happens. Maybe I'll bump up, maybe I won't. In the meantime, I'm just going to do my best every match and try to help the team win."
CALVERT 39, LACKEY 33
103--Parker, Calvert, p. Joe McKeever 3:01; 112--Lopes, Lackey, dec. Norman, 15-13; 119--Buff, Calvert, dec. Josh McKeever, 4-2; 125--Bancroft, Calvert, p. Ogden, 0:41; 130--Wilburn, Calvert, won by forfeit; 135--Brittain, Calvert, p. Pickle, 0:43; 140--Holman, Calvert, p. Cruz, 1:28; 145--Little, Calvert, p. Gautier, 2:17; 152--Queen, Lackey, p. Hoop, 2:41; 160--Sanford, Lackey, p. Davis, 2:53; 171--Poynor, Lackey, p. Gelatka, 1:33; 189--Leon, Lackey, p. Kassout, 5:09; Heavyweight--Dunkle, Lackey, p. Englert, 1:42.
CAPTION: Calvert's Clinton Parker, in back, closes in on a pin of Lackey's Joe McKeever on Tuesday in the 103-pound match.