Jeffrey Nofziger competes at state 3.12

Written by David Green.

Morenci junior Jeffrey Nofziger didn’t come home from the state wrestling finals with much in the win column, but he proved that he deserved his place at the Palace of Auburn Hills.

Nofziger had the lead for two periods against the wrestler who finished fourth in the state at 145 pounds and he stayed close with the eventual number three. Along the way, he posted a decisive win.

It was his opening match Thursday afternoon that set him on a tough path.

“We thought we had that one won,” said Morenci coach Scott Clark. “We ended up losing a match we shouldn’t have and then taking the hard road.”

Nofziger was showing good control against his opening opponent from Iron Mountain, Joey Wollum, who came into the tournament as the two-time defending champion with a 53-2 record.

Nofziger, who went to the Palace with a 29-3 mark, took a 4-1 lead into the final period, but that’s when it all fell apart.

“I don’t even have an explanation,” Coach Clark said. “Maybe he was trying too hard not to get hurt.”

Nofziger has battled a recurring injury that developed in his freshman year.

Wollum ended up with a 12-4 victory and Nofziger moved to the consolation bracket where he posted a strong 14-4 decision against Eric Heath of Leslie.

Clinton’s Ryan Perry (49-4) was Nofziger’s next foe. Perry won his opener before losing to the eventual champion.

Perry and Nofziger faced each other earlier in the season when Perry won 5-3 at the Clinton tournament.

Nofziger trailed 4-3 with about a minute remaining and needed to earn some points.

“He tried to throw him and it ended up costing him five points,” Clark said.

Perry won the match 9-3 to end Nofziger’s season. Perry later defeated Wollum 8-5 to finish third in the state.

“Both of Jeffrey’s losses were closer than the scores show,” Coach Clark.

He looks forward to returning to the Palace next year with Nofziger and at least a couple of his teammates.

  • Front.tug
    MORENCI pep rallies generally end with a tug of war. The senior class entry, shown above, did not advance to the finals. Griffin Grieder, Alaina Webster, Kyle Long and Jazmin Smith are shown at the front of the rope, giving it their best effort.
  • Accident
    FAYETTE resident Patricia Stambaugh, 64, was declared dead on the scene of a single-vehicle accident Friday morning south of Morenci. Rescue units were called around 9 a.m., but as of Tuesday, law enforcement officers had not yet determined the time of the accident. According to Ohio State Highway Patrol, Stambaugh was driving west on U.S. 20 when her Chevrolet Malibu traveled off the north side of the road and down a steep embankment, coming to rest in Bean Creek (Tiffin River).
  • Athletic Fields
    SPORTS COMPLEX—Fayette’s outdoor athletic facilities will include three ball fields for summer recreation leagues at the southwest corner of the school. The baseball and softball fields, along with the running track, will be constructed on the east side of the school. Outdoor athletic fields were not part of the new school project from 2007, but voters approved a $1.4 million levy for a school addition and the sports fields last August. Both projects are scheduled to be complete by July 20.
  • Front.teacher Leading
    PRESCHOOL MUSIC—Fayette band director Jeffrey Dunford spends the last half hour of the day leading the full-day preschool class in musical activities. Additional photos are on page 7 of this week’s Observer.
  • Front.F.band
    TROMBONISTS Jake Myers (left) and Max Baker perform Friday at the annual Senior Citizens Luncheon at Fayette High School. The National Honor Society and the FFA chapter teamed up to serve a meal to area seniors and to provide musical entertainment. Both the school band and choir performed. Additional photos are on page 7 of this week’s Observer.
  • Station.2
    STRANGE STUFF—Morenci Elementary School students learn that blue isn’t really blue when seen through the right color of lens. Volunteer April Pike presents the lesson to students at one of the many stations brought to the school by the COSI science center. The theme of this year’s visit was the solar system.
  • Front.poles
    MOVING EAST—Utility workers continue their slow progress east along U.S. 20 south of Morenci. New electrical poles are put in place before wiring is moved into place.

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