DALLASTOWN — Dave Gable expected that his top-seeded Dallastown wrestling team would be in for quite a battle during Wednesday's District 3 Class 3-A quarterfinal with eighth-seeded Cumberland Valley.
For at least a little while, however, it didn't seem like that would be the case. After winning seven of eight bouts to take a 19-point lead late into the match, the Wildcats had to hang on for dear life against the Eagles.
Fortunately, CV could only muster 17 points over the final four bouts, allowing the Wildcats to remain unbeaten, 33-31.
Dallastown (18-0) will now square off against fourth-seeded Central Dauphin (16-2) at 5 p.m. Thursday at Spring Grove High School in the semifinals. The Rams took out New Oxford in the quarterfinals, 42-23, to move to the semifinal match vs. the Wildcats.
"They have some of their best guys in those last couple of weights," Gable said of CV. "And we had some of our least experienced guys who were still going to fight really hard to compete."
CV's late flurry: After Caden Dobbins earned a technical fall at 106 to put the Wildcats ahead, 33-14, the Eagles did their best to make up ground over the final four matches.
It started at 113, where CV's Ben Monn was able to secure a third-period pin over Adam Karlie. Back-to-back major decisions at 120 by Ruston Dzielak (13-0) and Kyle Miller (14-0) helped cut the deficit to five points heading into the final contest at 132.
At that point, Gable knew that all his team would need to do to move on would be for Cael Turnbull to avoid giving up six points. Turnbull did the job against Mason Viehman, who could only earn points by virtue of stalling calls against Turnbull. Turnbull was hit with five of them in a 4-0 Viehman decision.
"Cael went out there to try to win," Gable said. "But we knew what we needed as a team and sometimes I think that kind of makes it harder. He had a really hard task to go out there last and in that situation, but he still wrestled a solid match."
Upper weights lead Wildcats: While Turnbull clinched the victory, the strength of Wednesday's quarterfinal triumph was earned by the Dallastown upper weights.
Jarret Feeney spurred a 21-0 run by the Wildcats with a pin at 195. Despite yielding nearly 20 pounds against CV's Dontey Rogan, Feeney was able to score the stick 32 seconds into the third period.
For Feeney, who scored a similarly impressive victory two weeks ago against Spring Grove's Eric Glass, moving up in a weight has been a challenge that he's welcomed for the sake of his team.
"It's definitely a challenge," Feeney said. "But I love a challenge ... always have and always will."
Jamal Brandon followed with a major decision (17-7) at 220 before CV forfeited at heavyweight to unbeaten Raymond Christas. Dobbins followed with his tech fall for the seventh victory over an eight-bout span.
That proved to be just enough.
Central Dauphin up next: The Wildcats will have little time to get ready for a CD side that has had Dallastown's number over the past decade.
Thursday's showdown will mark the seventh time these two highly-decorated programs have met in the District 3 3-A playoffs.
Dallastown won the first two battles, but CD has claimed the last four, including in last year's consolations.
With a victory Dallastown would officially clinch a berth into the PIAA 3-A draw. A loss, however, would require the Wildcats to win a consolation semifinal battle in order to earn one of the four berths from District 3.
Gable, who is not one for fiery pep-talks, knows that his team will be ready for the challenge Thursday.
"I don't need to say any of those things," Gable said. "As a team I think they know what they want and for me to tell them what they want, they don't need that. They know what they want and they'll do everything that they can to try to get it."
Beating Solanco: Dallastown rolled in its district opener on Wednesday, pounding 16th-seeded Solanco, 55-15, to earn its quarterfinal match vs. CV. The York-Adams League Division I champion won the first seven bouts to race out to a 37-0 lead over the Mules (9-4).
In addition to three forfeits, the Wildcats scored six points in four other matches.Those pins included a pair of sticks that took less than 60 seconds — Brandon at 220 (29 seconds) and Christas at 285 (52 seconds). Hunter Sweitzer (152) and Franklin Klinger (170) had Dallastown's other pins.
New Oxford and Gettysburg each go 1-1: New Oxford and Gettysburg, meanwhile, each went 1-1 in District 3 3-A action.
The 13th-seeded Colonials stunned fourth-seeded Wilson (14-2) on its home mat in the opener, 34-32, before dropping its quarterfinal match vs. Central Dauphin.
Seventh-seeded Gettysburg, meanwhile, won its opener over 10th-seeded Waynesboro (13-3), 45-18. The Warriors then fell in the quarterfinals to second-seeded Chambersburg (15-1), 46-15.
Both New Oxford (12-6) and Gettysburg (15-4) will be in consolation action at 5 p.m. Thursday at Spring Grove. New Oxford faces Cumberland Valley (12-5), while Gettysburg meets 11th-seeded Lampeter-Strasburg (13-2).
Littestown 45, Dover 30: At Littlestown, the featured match pitted two standout 106-pounders against each other. Littlestown's Connor Brown came out on top of Dover's Mason Leiphart with a first-period pin at the 1-minute, 47-second mark. Brown is now 15-2. Leiphart fell to 25-2. Littlestown also got pins from Ayden Dillon (120), Mason Hurst (138), Dalton Persing (160), Carl Harris (170) and Jeremy Gebhart (220). Dover got pins from Mason Lewis (132), Brandon Lawyer (195) and Jarrod Love (285). Littlestown improved to 6-5. Dover fell to 12-6.
Reach Ryan Vandersloot at firstname.lastname@example.org.