Milford falls on the mats to Bedford

MILFORD – When the Bedford High School wrestlers traveled to Milford’s gym on Jan. 15, they looked to prove themselves. Not only did they do that, they asserted themselves.

Bedford got a dominating 45-18 win over Milford, confirming the Bulldogs as one of the top teams in Division II competition.

The Spartans never held a lead, but had some moments to shout about. The automatic Scott Dannewitz ignited his bench with a convincing 7-1 win over Ben Miller at 170 pounds.

Dannewitz’s triumph set the scene for Dustin Post and Ryan Belz in the 182-pound class. Milford’s Post trailed through the first four minutes of the match, but frustrated Belz with his persistence, and through a barrage of swipes to the face, contorted himself on top to take a 6-4 win that fired up his home crowd.

“I just dug deep and found the heart to keep going,” Post said. “When the pressure is going one way, just fight it and it will go the other way.”

Travis Hughes would go on to grind out a 2-0 win over Robert Lamy at 285 pounds, but that was the extent of Milford’s success.

“Our kids don’t have anything to hang their heads about,” Milford head coach Dana Bourassa said. “They stayed in all the matches. We were over matched in some, but I give a lot of credit to the coaching staff from Bedford.”

Despite the lopsided numbers on the scoreboard, there were a slew of matches that had to be thoroughly earned by the Bulldogs (5-0).

Justin Mello was seconds away from being dumped off the back of Milford’s Jake Ricca in a 4-2 win at 160 for the Bulldogs. Mike Pellitteri was blanked 2-0, by Bedford’s Ethan LaVallee in another exhausting 132-pound match.

“We were dominant in the top position and our guys didn’t give up much room, they were very much mistake free,” Bedford coach Bob Benincasa said. “We were able to grind out the wins because we were prepared mentally and physically.”

Ben Dow of Bedford was unopposed at 120 pounds, Bedford’s Jake Valeri took an 8-1 win over Rueben Carson at 126 pounds, Devin Dolliver was Milford’s first win, 4-2 over Ben Gilman at 138, Josh Belz of Bedford pinned Mitch Rota at 2:26 at 145, Ryan Hamilton was pinned by Bedford’s Chris Conery at 4:28 at 152, Matt Houston pinned Milford’s Josh Smith in 5:20 at 195, John Shaw forfeited to Bedford’s Bobby Heald at 220, Jake Hall pinned Spartan Alex Nguyen with a time of 0:57 at 106, and Dominic Nguyen was unopposed for Milford.

The record may show 2-2, but one should not be too quick to measure the Spartans by that mark.

The only losses of the season have come to the two best teams in the division, the other being Hollis Brookline.

The Spartans were back on the mat when they visited Winnacunnet (1-1) Wednesday.

Bourassa expects the division championship to be decided between the Bulldogs and Hollis Brookline.

“We needed to get over the hurdle of Milford with a great performance to help reaffirm us as one of the top teams,” Benincasa said.