Hovan, Kennedy victorious at Milford

MILFORD — In a fight, one that for the best of the region’s high school wrestlers could last over three months, there is nothing like landing the first punch.

Two Merrimack High matmen accomplished that Saturday, taking home titles at the 26th Milford-Souhegan Invitational Championship — Julien Hovan at 145 and Nathan Kennedy at 182.

Both were expected coming out of the top seed. None was more dramatic than Kennedy, the second-year wrestler, who looked to be in trouble-deep in the final minute of his title match when while on top of his foe, he committed a 1-point foul for two hands to the head and fell behind 6-5.

Kennedy could have let him up and then gone for a two-point takedown to tie. Instead, he gambled and went for the kill.

“He was a tough guy, he knew what he was doing,” said the senior Kennedy. “I was thinking I had to get him to his back. All I could do was push myself. I just wanted to get him on his back and pin him.”

Kennedy found a way and somehow, with time ticking away, turned his foe on his back.

“Once I got him down and into that cradle, I knew it was just a matter of time,” he said.

The pin came at just 5:49, with 11 seconds to spare for the Tomahawk