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Brandon extends streak to 334

The Bulls' keep it close early, but the Eagles avoid the upset by winning nine matches.

Bloomingdale entered its dual meet with Brandon undefeated and with a plan to be the first team to beat the Eagles in 27 years.

The plan almost worked. The Bulls hoped to win seven matches and stop the Eagles' win streak at 333 by scoring more pins. When the dust settled, Bloomingdale had given Brandon its toughest match in year, winning five matches.

However, with a 44-22 victory, the Eagles extended their streak to 334 consecutive wins.

"We had a plan to win six matches and hope for an upset some place in the lineup," Bloomingdale coach Scot Tipton said. "With six plus an upset, it would be 7-7. Then the team with the most pins would win. We got the upset at 147, but unfortunately for us, they got the upsets on us, too. Brandon is still the class team in the area and the state, but we keep getting closer. And most of our team will be back next year."

Brandon won nine matches and scored five pins _ to two for Bloomingdale _ but were beaten by the Bulls in two of four upperweight matches.

Brandon sophomore Chris Collins earned the first upset for the Eagles. The Bulls' lightweights had the momentum and a 2-1 individual match lead after the first three bouts, but Collins decision junior Tim Ford at 125 to turn things in favor of Brandon.

Ford dropped two weight classes in hopes of giving Bloomingdale an advantage, and it almost worked. Trailing 6-2 with a minute remaining in the match, Collins scored a reversal and rolled his opponent over for a near fall with 10 seconds on the clock for a 7-6 win.

Momentum shifted to the Eagles as junior middleweights Brian Burgman and David Emch scored pins to give Brandon a 21-10 lead and four of the first six bouts.

Curtis Bristol then scored a 9-0 major decision over Travis Cochran at 142.

But the Bulls didn't roll over. Senior 147-pounder Gabriel Bartolomei scored an upset pin over Mike Doles with two seconds left to give hope to the Bulls and bring the score to within 25-16.

The Bulls' next part of the plan was to wins twice in the upperweights. And it worked, but the meet was over by then as the Eagles won the next three matches.

From there, Brandon's Nick Ferrario pinned Scott Young at 173. Senior Eric Gardner beat Eagles freshman Matt Juncal 15-13 in overtime at 191, and Bloomingdale's Joe Dinzeo took a 3-1 decision over Jonathan Wiley at 217.

"There was a good crowd tonight, which is good for the sport and for our community," Brandon coach Russ Cozart said. "Bloomingdale did a good job tonight, but we won the tough matches we had to win. This is the kind of match that is good for the sport and for all wrestlers involved."

Bloomingdale did end one of Brandon's streaks with a 38-37 win by the junior varsity team. It was the Eagles first JV loss in 11 years.