McGuffey and Canon-McMillan have been two of the most successful local high school wrestling programs, and on Jan. 10, 2003, their dual meet had one of the most stunning turnarounds and finishes you’ll find.

CANONSBURG – Addison Scherich only dreamed of a bout like this, and then only during those mundane hours spent in a hot wrestling practice room at McGuffey High School.

But Friday night in front of about 1,000 fans at Canon-McMillan’s gymnasium, Scherich lived out that golden moment.

Trailing 10-3 with 21 seconds to go in a bout that would assure the Big Macs a victory in this non-section dual meet, Scherich finally caught up with Dennis Cole.

Scherich hit a front headlock, drove Cole to the mat, switched to a cradle and then pinned him with only 13 seconds to go to win the 125-pound weight class.

And when Judd Wolfe followed with a pin of freshman Shane Trylko in 2:52 at 130, McGuffey had pulled out one of the most improbable victories in the program’s history, 30-28, over its arch-rival.

“I was just looking for a throw,” said Scherich, whose lanky body was in sharp contrast to the more compact Cole. “I wasn’t really thinking about anything. I knew there wasn’t much time left.”

Scherich’s pin stunned the crowd and gave the Highlanders a lifeline that no one believed would exist this late in the match.

“I told these kids that we believe in them,” said McGuffey coach Mark Caffrey. “But they needed to believe in themselves.”

The Big Macs lost for the first time in 10 dual meets while the Highlanders are perfect through nine matches.

McGuffey’s only lead came at the end of the match and the Highlanders trailed 15-3 after three bouts and 28-18 heading into the final two.

“It sounds funny, but we wrestled really well,” said Canon-McMillan head coach Chris Mary. “(Cole) just reached up instead of bailing out at the end of his bout. He’s a 10th-grader and he just made a 10th-grade mistake. He did not cost us the match.”

What made the Highlanders’ comeback extra special is that they were forced to forfeit to C-M’s Mike Powell at heavyweight, a rarity for a program that has been one of the WPIAL’s elite.

“We have two (heavyweights) we’re breaking in, but they both only had a couple of matches,” Caffrey said. “It didn’t seem like a good idea to throw them out there because Powell is a very good wrestler.”

The Big Macs took control of the match early, winning the first two bouts that were considered toss-ups. Mike Catalano edged Nathan Kennedy, 6-5, at 135 and Bill Crothers stopped Seth Allum 6-2 at 140 pounds.

A major decision by Albert Miles at 152 and a technical fall by Kyle Deliere at 160 stretched the Big Macs’ lead to 15-3. But McGuffey rallied to tie by winning the next three bouts, including a tense 9-8 decision by Nick Rawlins over Matt Luba of C-M.

The forfeit at heavyweight helped the Big Macs forge ahead 28-18 after J’roud Scott decisioned McGuffey’s Aaron Sikora 6-3 at 119.

Cole frustrated Scherich for most of the match, taking him down once in the first period for a 3-2 lead, and then nearly pinning him with a headlock in the second. Time ran out, but Cole took an 8-2 lead into the final two minutes. Cole reversed Scherich to make it 10-2 with 55 seconds to go and then Scherich slipped out six seconds later.

The two tied up near the edge of the mat, which is where Scherich hit the front headlock and then the cradle.

“We’ve got some young kids on our team and this was the biggest match they’ve been in all year,” Mary said. “I don’t want this to be a setback for our team. We lost, but we have nothing to be ashamed of.”

Meanwhile, the Highlanders can be happy for a big win in a hostile environment.

“This win pushes my confidence up,” said Scherich. “It’s going to pull everyone else up, too.”

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