WRIGHTSVILLE — In a match in which every bout finished with six points being awarded to either visiting West York or host Eastern York, it came down to one point.
For the Bulldogs, that point cost them a victory.
With West York leading 42-18 with four bouts left, it seemed virtually certain the Bulldogs would prevail.
Even if the Golden Knights picked up six points in each of the final four contests, West York would still have a chance to win.
Sure enough, the hosts ran the table, getting three pins and a forfeit to score the final 24 points of the evening. Normally, that would have left the final score at 42-42, meaning that criteria, such as most takedowns, would be used to determine a winner.
In the end, however, it didn’t turn out that way.
After Eastern’s Justin Manganello pinned Terraj DeShields at 132, the sophomore cost the Bulldogs a team point deduction by throwing his headgear in disgust. That point proved to be the difference as the Knights claimed a 42-41 triumph in a York-Adams League Division II battle.
“It’s a tough way to lose,” West York coach Brian Gross said. “But we have to know in those situations that you have to win with pride and lose with dignity. You just have to walk off the mat like that and that’s the way it has to go.”
Had it not been for that one-point deduction, both Gross and Eastern coach Dan Garner would have had to scramble to determine how to break the deadlock. Both sides claimed five bouts by pin, in addition to two bouts by forfeit.
Gross, however, was not overly despondent about the final result that dropped his team to 2-6 overall and 0-2 in Division II. While the outcome was a disappointment, he was proud of the way his short-handed squad battled.
“It was great match to be a part of,” Gross said with a smile. “But we just came up a little bit short.”
The Knights (9-6 overall, 2-1 D-II) made sure of that with some heroic efforts by a pair of juniors. Jonah Dougherty at 138 and Nathan Robbins at 145 stepped up to score a pair of pins that made the unlikely comeback a reality.
Dougherty’s victory had the makings of everything in a made-for-TV drama. Normally wrestling junior varsity matches, Dougherty was thrust into the varsity draw because a shoulder injury to Eastern 145-pounder Zach Dice.
Robbins, who typically takes the mat at 138, told Garner before the match that he would bump up to 145 to allow Dougherty to slide in at 138. That decision proved key as both Dougherty and Robbins took care of business.
“Jonah stepped into the lineup and got us a huge pin,” Garner said. “He was just real aggressive. He didn’t look like a JV guy at all.”
Dougherty nearly ended his match against West York’s Kyle Hartzel late in the second period, but the buzzer sounded before he could end it.
Hartzel’s reprieve, however, didn’t last long. Dougherty took the top position to begin the third period. The Golden Knight junior quickly tilted Hartzel after the whistle before securing the stick just six seconds into the final period.
“Top is probably my strongest position,” Dougherty said. “I don’t really remember too much about what happened at the time, but it felt good.”
That set the stage for Robbins, who was at an eight-plus-pound disadvantage in his bout against the Bulldogs’ Jordan Billet. Much like Dougherty, Robbins wasted little time in the second period after securing a takedown to finish his opponent. The junior locked in a tight cradle to secure the pin at the 3:09 mark.
“It felt really good,” Robbins said with a laugh. “It was a close match and I didn’t really think that we were going to win, but we came back. Getting that pin by Jonah was crucial, because he’s not even generally in the lineup.”
Garner chimed in to heap some praise on Robbins’ decision to move up and take on a heavier opponent.
“(Nathan) came up to me and told me to send Jonah out at 138,” Garner said. “He said ‘I’ll take the heavier wrestler’ and he really stepped up there for us.”
The Bulldogs, who were missing two regulars because of illness, were forced to forfeit the final bout of the night at 152, resulting in Eastern’s improbable triumph.
Central York 45, Northeastern 29: At Central York, the Panthers received pins from: Antonio Rivera (170), Zach Wiltshire (160) and Michael Wolfgram (285). For the Bobcats, Connor Slenker (195) and Cole Wilson (113) each captured pin.
Kennard-Dale 49, Dover 28: At Fawn Grove, the Rams received pins from Aiden Stewart (120) and Camron Miller (152). For the Eagles, Brandon Lawyer (195), John Bradbury (220) and Mason Torney (138) each picked up pin.
Reach Ryan Vandersloot at firstname.lastname@example.org.