Dallastown wins another close one, punches ticket to D-3 finals against Cedar Cliff

SPRING GROVE, Pa.: If things continue like they have been, Dallastown head coach Dave Gable is going to need oxygen next to him on the bench.

For the second night in a row, and really throughout the season, the Wildcats were in a close scrum that featured swing matches, key bonus points, and holding on at the end to preserve the victory.

The difference this time is there was more on the line. Gable’s crew mustered just enough points in key spots to hold off Central Dauphin 30-27 and earn a spot in Saturday’s District 3-AAA final against defending champion Cedar Cliff.

“It seems like that’s all we have,” Gable said of his team’s close matches. “My old heart can’t take it.

“I think 132 was big. Cael [Turnbull] came through two nights in a row for us. Last night, he was kind of stifled and what we let him do. Tonight, he was able to let loose and wrestled a great match.”

Turnbull wasn’t the only one.

The Wildcats (19-0) got off to a quick start on a fall by John Ligon at 160. Timmy Smith got the Rams on the board with a 2-0 overtime win over Blake Feeney at 170 to cut the advantage in half.

After CD evened the match on a Nathaniel Mosey overtime win at 182, Jarrett Feeney scored a huge decision at 195 for the Wildcats. He gave up 15 pounds to Jackson Talbott but managed a 7-1 decision.

“At 195, we didn’t wrestle as good as I thought we could,” Rams head coach Jeff Sweigard said. “Feeney is tough, but I thought him giving up 15 pounds gave us a 50-50 shot there.

“We also gave up three pins. Bonus points and tight matches win duals. We gave it a run, but you’ve got to win the close ones.”

The Rams didn’t win the close ones in the upper weights, but they kept it close. Jamal Brandon (220) and Raymond Christas (285) could only muster decisions to spot the Wildcats a 15-6 advantage at the turn.

That’s where Caden Dobbins and Adam Karlie did some major damage. Dobbins planted Aliyar Nassyrov in 1:56 at 106, and Karlie stuck Marshall Pleskonko in 1:17 to help the Wildcats build a 27-6 lead.

But the Rams are also battled tested, and you knew a run was coming. It started with a Josh Miller tech fall over Carter MacDonald at 120 and continued with a Tyler Faust major decision over Donovan Trauger.

With the Wildcats nursing a 27-15 lead, Turnbull trailed 3-2 in the in the third. Bryce Buckman was a little loose on top, which allowed Turnbull to turn a reversal with 44 seconds left and earned the 4-3 decision.

“I expected the run,” Gable said. “There were so many close matches. There were two overtime matches, and they won all of them.

“Their heavyweight did a great job, and we didn’t get the bonus. But, you get points where you can and conserve them where you can. I thought our guys did a great job with that tonight.”

The Rams had one more charge left, but it wasn’t enough. Brooks Gable held Tye Wheathersby to a 3-1 decision at 138. Hunter Bentz (145) could only muster a one-point decision, and Mitchell Arch scored a fall in the finale at 152.

That gave the Wildcats the narrow three-point escape. It also put them in the finals against a Cedar Cliff squad that downed Chambersburg by a decisive 42-26 margin in the other semifinal match.

“They are a great team, and we look forward to the opportunity to wrestle them,” Gable said. “It was a close match last year, and we look forward to the challenge and seeing what we can do.

“Cedar Cliff has a lot of star power, and they are balanced everywhere else. They don’t have an exposed weakness, so we are going to have to find some place to get a few wins and make it competitive.”

CEDAR CLIFF DOMINATES: Chambersburg jumped out front 11-0 by winning the first three bouts before the Colts stormed back. Donovon Ball and Elijah Ikeda scored pins at 195 and 220 to give the defending champs the lead at 12-11. The two teams traded falls before the Colts rattled off five wins in the last seven bouts to close out the Trojans. Creed Bogardus (120) and Michael Cassidy (132) posted falls in the run.

CENTRAL DAUPHIN AND CUMBERLAND VALLEY ADVANCE: The Rams bounced back from their defeat at the hands of Dallastown and defeated Gettysburg 43-24. They will face the Eagles in the consolation finals. Dave Heckard’s squad stopped New Oxford 38-31 before beating Chambersburg 33-30 to make the PIAA Team Championships.

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