It says quite a bit about the expectations of a program when it doubles up another nationally-ranked squad and its coach is still not that pleased.
A day after rallying past the top team in Class 2A, Montini, the top-ranked team in Class 3A didn’t need any late drama against the third-ranked Cadets.
OPRF responded to an opening defeat to MA by capturing eight straight victories, which featured three pins and a technical fall, to give it a 35-3 lead.
The Cadets won four of the last five matches to make the final outcome appear closer as the Huskies settled for a 38-19 nonconference victory in Aurora.
“I really gave it to our guys afterward,” OPRF coach Mike Powell said. “Maybe my personal expectations are really high, but we know what this team is capable of. We might not be the best team in the state but we are definitely the most talented.
“We want these guys to believe in what they have and what they’re capable of and want them to commit to it. The bottom line is that we beat a really good team. Even though we were flat, we found ways to win the close ones and I’m proud of that.”
While both squads possess arguably the top freshman lineups in the state, it was the 31-1 Huskies who performed more like veterans than the 20-2 Cadets.
Beside its big bonus points early on, OPRF won a pair of overtime matches and used a late rally to help it kick off the run of eight straight victories.
“Oak Park came out ready to wrestle,” MA coach Ryan Cumbee said. “Tonight was a coach’s nightmare. We had the talent to wrestle with and to beat theses guys but but we didn’t have the courage and the heart that it took so we didn’t deserve to win.
“Hopefully our boys learned a lesson that they’re not as good as they think they are. We need to work harder in order to beat a team like Oak Park. I was proud since we had been wrestling with maturity but tonight we wrestled our age and it showed.
“This loss provides us an opportunity to get better and to show ourselves that even though we get knocked down, we will get right back up. I think our guys are going to get better because of this loss.”
Things started off well enough for the hosts, who received a 5-3 victory from Jake Field over Darius Henry in the opener at 126.
But White got a takedown with 22 seconds left and a nearfall with eight seconds remaining to stun the state’s top-ranked 3A 132-pounder.
“I wasn’t ready at the start so I knew that I had to start picking it up toward the end so I kept pushing the pace,” White said. “I just wanted to get our team its first win.
“These last two wins over Montini and Marmion show that our hard work is paying off. I like how there’s a bond involving everyone and that’s helped make this into a fun team.”
At 138, Matt Ferraro jumped out to a 5-0 lead after one period against Jake O’Mara. But the Huskie came back to record a fall in 3:15.