Kyle Swartz holds off Donovan Ball in intense, physical 195-pound sectional final

MECHANICSBURG: Northern York’s Kyle Swartz climbed down from the top of the podium at Mechanicsburg High School with blood still trickling from his nose.

It looked like the Polar Bear junior was in a street fight. That wasn’t the case, but he was in a pretty intense 195-pound slugfest high-school-wrestling style with Cedar Cliff’s Donovon Ball.

And in this particular scenario, the competitor who came out on top looked worse than the loser of the bout.

Swartz held off a charging Ball in the third period to earn a hard-fought, physical 5-4 decision to claim the District 3-AAA Sectional title. It was Swartz’s second win over Ball this season.

“It was just an intense match,” said Swartz, who is ranked fourth in the state according to PA Power Wrestling. “Emotions … we were really going after each other. So, I wouldn’t expect anything else.

“I had confidence, because I knew I could wrestle with someone of that caliber. I also knew in the back of my head that he was going to come after me, because no one likes losing.”

This one had a little bit of everything. There were hard hits, some questionable calls and no calls, and plenty of emotion from the crowd.

Swartz came out firing early, securing a takedown to grab a 2-0 lead. After a caution, the Polar Bear ace had to deal with a bloody nose that required a pair of stoppages for blood time.

Ball got on the board late in the first period thanks to locked hands penalty and trailed 2-1 at the end of the first two minutes. He was down to start the second, but before the whistle, Swartz had his head wrapped to stop the flow of blood from his nose.

“I knew I was going to have to take him down to win,” Swartz said. “I knew I was going to have to do something different.

“It felt really long, especially in the first period when I was riding him. He kept going out of bounds, the blood, it was really long.”

Ball escaped with 1:53 left in the second. The rest of the period saw both wrestlers with chances to score, but no points were awarded.

The Colts standout let Swartz up to start the third. He pushed the pace but was nailed for a technical violation — interlocking fingers — during a tie, which made it 4-2. Ball scored on a takedown and let Swartz up to make it 5-4 with just under a minute left.

“He took me down pretty quick,” said Ball, who is ranked fifth in the state. “It was a questionable call. My head gear was kind of pulled a lot, but it is what it is.

“From the pace of the match, he kept returning me to the mat, but I felt like I controlled the pace of the match the whole time. I’m sure his blood time helped him with his gas tank. It is what it is.”

There was a restart in which both wrestlers started early. Instead of calling a double caution, which would have been Swartz’s third of the match and given Ball a point, the official let it go and went with another restart.

It turned out to be a critical point. Ball pushed the pace late, but Swartz fought off the charge with just under 10 seconds by getting out of bounds. The no-stall call drew the ire of the Cedar Cliff crowd, and Swartz was able to fend off one last bid on a restart to claim the victory.

“I love it,” Swartz said of the raucous crowd. “It’s fun to wrestle under pressure. That’s when the good matches happen.”

Said Ball, “You control what you can and go back to the room, work as hard as you can, and not get beat. There is a saying I saw the other day, ‘One loss is more motivating than 1000 wins.’

“Right now, all you can do is go back and work as hard as you can to not get beat again. Control what you can control.”

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