A live band belted out heavy metal hits as Port Jefferson rushed onto the mat at home for its final Suffolk League VII dual meet of the season against Mattituck.
The stakes were high -- the winner would be crowned league champion -- and an enthusiastic packed house was on hand to support the home team, but Mattituck spoiled the party.
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Behind a strong early effort from its lightweights and a big finish from the heavyweights, Mattituck (7-0) defeated Port Jefferson, 40-22, Wednesday night to claim the League VII title.
"You know Port Jeff is going to be well prepared," Mattituck coach Cory Dolson said. "But besides that, we've been preparing for the atmosphere for a couple of weeks now because you know you're going to come here and things are going to be different -- there's going to be a band playing and it's never the same but there's always some kind of circus going on.
"God bless them, they fill the stands and get the fans here . . . We knew coming in that it was going to be a different kind of atmosphere and it was fun."
Port Jefferson (6-1) got off to a 7-3 start when defending state runner-up Matteo DeVincenzo won a 10-2 major decision over TJ Beebe at 106 pounds.
But after that, Mattituck rolled off wins in five of the next six bouts, including a dramatic 3-1 come-from-behind victory from James Hoeg at 145 against Port Jefferson's highly regarded Tyler D'Accordo.
"I don't really think about the score when I'm in the match and I just keep trying to score points," Hoeg, who entered the third period down 1-0 before an early escape and a takedown in the match's final 20 seconds. "Most of my matches this year, I've been down early and come back in the third period."
Port Jefferson got itself back in the meet by winning the next three matches, including the match of the night between Paul Cavanagh and Tanner Zagarino at 152.
Cavanagh trailed 2-0 entering the third period before getting a point for an escape and following it up with a sprinting double leg takedown for a 3-2 lead. The action went back and forth on the mat with Zagarino nearly securing a reversal in the final moments.
"When you see that happen and the place is going crazy, sometimes it will psych you out," Dolson said. "I just tell the guys to be selfish when they're on deck and not even pay attention to what's going on."
The advice worked as Mattituck buckled down to win the final three bouts. Adam Goode's pin over Joe Sottile at 195 clinched the meet.
"We were just trying to do our own thing," Goode said. "We don't worry about the other team and we go at our own tempo and speed."