HERSHEY – In their District 3 Class 3-A quarterfinal and semifinal victories over Cumberland Valley and Central Dauphin, respectively, the Dallastown wrestling team used a similar script.
That script included dominating the upper weights while securing a string of five or six wins consecutively.
Saturday afternoon at the Spartan Center at the Milton Hershey School, that script was flipped on the Wildcats by No. 3 seeded Cedar Cliff.
The Colts scored five consecutive pins to erase an early three-point deficit. While Dallastown was able to capture five of the final six bouts, it wasn’t enough. Cedar Cliff won its second consecutive District 3 Class 3-A team championship, 39-28, over the previously unbeaten Wildcats.
“We knew that we would have to try to survive their row of very talented guys there,” Dallastown coach Dave Gable said. “And we were over-matched at a lot of those weights down there and just trying to make it through there would be difficult.”
Cedar Cliff (16-0) took charge immediately after the Wildcats (19-1) claimed back-to-back wins at 220 on a pin by Jamal Brandon and at 285 with a 7-2 decision in favor of unbeaten heavyweight Raymond Christas put Dallastown on top 9-6.
With the lineup shifting to the lightweights, the Colts used their experience and talent to dominate. Aiden Lewis scored a first-period fall at 106 over Dallastown’s Caden Dobbins. Cole Baer repeated that feat at 113 with a stick of Adam Karlie. Creed Bogardus, J.J. Wilson and Michael Cassidy followed with six-point efforts to give the Colts a comfortable 36-9 advantage.
Wildcats rally: The Wildcats, however, were not about to just roll over. Starting with Gable’s son, Brooks, at 138, the top-seeded team in the draw went to work. Brooks Gable earned a hard-fought 4-2 decision before Sam Druck scored a 10-5 victory at 145. Hunter Sweitzer kept the Wildcats alive with a 7-5 victory in overtime at 152.
Those decisions, however, didn’t produce the bonus points that Dallastown desperately needed. So when John Ligon took the mat at 160, the Wildcat standout knew that only a pin would help his team.
Ligon did his best. He dominated Bobby Whalen, but Whalen was able to stay off his back.
Ligon nearly secured the fall near the end of the second period, but Whalen was able to roll off his back just in time to avoid the stick. So while Ligon’s 13-1 major decision was impressive, that bout officially clinched the team victory for the Colts.
“It was really frustrating when he would just (kind of) ball up,” Ligon said. “It’s (upsetting) when you know that the whole team needs you to perform but this person is just not letting you.”
After Isaiah Auman claimed an 8-7 decision over Franklin Klinger at 170, the match concluded with Dallastown standout Jarrett Feeney earning a forfeit victory at 182.
“I was proud of how our guys fought back,” coach Gable said. “You know, they were in a big deficit and we battled back pretty tough. But the bottom line is that we just lost to a better team.”
On to states: While the Wildcats didn’t earn the gold medals that they were hungry for, the Dallastown boys know that their season will continue on to the PIAA Class 3-A Team Dual Championships starting at 6 p.m. Thursday at Hershey's Giant Center. As the District 3 runner-up, the Wildcats will take on District 12 champion Father Judge. A victory would advance Dallastown into Friday’s quarterfinals, back at the Giant Center, against Council Rock South/Hazelton winner.
“We’re not even close to being done,” coach Gable said. “We plan on going up there Thursday and hopefully winning some matches.”
Cedar Cliff 39, Dallastown 28
195 - Ball (CC) pinned Smith, 3:54
220 - Brandon (D) pinned Godineaux, 2:43
285 - Christas (D) dec. Shires, 7-2
106 - Lewis (CC) pinned Dobbins, 1:47
113 - Baer (CC) pinned Karlie, 1:46
120 - Bogardus (CC) pinned MacDonald, 3:14
126 - Wilson (CC) pinned Trauger, 2:26
132 - Cassidy (CC) pinned Turnbull, 1:21
138 - Gable (D) dec. Prestil, 4-2
145 - Druck (D) dec. Cunningham, 10-5
152 - Sweitzer (D) dec. Zigue, 7-5 (OT)
160 - Ligon (D) maj. dec. Whalen, 13-1
170 - Auman (CC) dec. Klinger, 8-7
182 - J. Feeney (D) by forfeit