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DEEMSTON – In a dual meet where both teams matched up so evenly, it seemed fitting that the result would come down to an unexpected turn of events.

Unfortunately for Beth-Center head coach and his Bulldogs, a disqualification turned the tide in McGuffey’s 45-36 victory Wednesday in Class 2A Section 1B action.

The Bulldogs’ Trevor Pettit had a 2-0 lead and the home team held a 36-28 advantage 24 seconds into his bout against Eric Donnelly at 152 pounds when Pettit was penalized for a slam and Donnelly was awarded two points. Donnelly was injured, couldn’t continue, and by rule, won by disqualification to cut the McGuffey deficit to 36-34.

“Our guy was already hurt, and we had to convince him to go out and wrestle and he showed a lot of guts to go out there and wrestle,” McGuffey coach Jared Roberts said. “He got slammed right on his bad shoulder.”

“They made the decision that is in the best interest of their program and in the safety of the kid,” Beth-Center coach Gary Welsh said. “We don’t get any do-overs or replays, we just got to lick our wounds. After tonight, it’s over. We have to stay healthy and hopefully go on some kind of replay in the postseason.”

The Highlanders (4-0, 9-0) won the next two bouts by fall as Ethan Barr (160) and Seth Burgdolt (170) won by fall in 1:04 and 3:15, respectively, to earn the subsection championship and the right to host the Section 1-AA Team Championships next Wednesday. Both teams have already qualified for the WPIAL Class AA Team Tournament.

“We are excited to host next week,” said Roberts who is in his first year as head coach. “I learned a lot of good stuff from Coach (Mark) Caffrey. I worked under him for seven years, and I would like to keep the success going at McGuffey. We are excited to host next week.”

The dual meet started at 182 and Alex Lange got the Beth-Center (3-1, 7-4) off to a 6-0 lead when he won by fall in 2:26.

McGuffey won the next three bouts for an 18-6 advantage as Garrett Boone (195) and Tasso Makripodis (220) pinned their opponents, and Charles Yanniello won by forfeit at heavyweight. Boone won in 1:42 and Makripodis in 2:12.

Davis Stepp (106) cut the deficit for the home team to six with a fall in 56 seconds at 106 before Beau Bergles pinned Joey Holmes in 1:39 at 113 for a 24-18 lead. Bergles scored the opening takedown before being reversed and was close to be pinned himself, but he was able to reverse Holmes and score the fall.

Both coaches agreed the bout at 113 was one of the key points in the match.

“Our guy at 113 had a huge match for us,” Roberts said. “That match was a turning point and really helped us out in getting that fall. We weren’t expecting that, but he really came through for us. We had some other guys that did their job and got the falls, especially when we needed it.”

“That was definitely a tossup kind of match,” Welsh said. “We knew their kid was tough. A couple matches he had against capable opponents. Our kid slapped a cradle, had him on his back, and the next thing you know, that kid bridges up and puts our kid to our back. That is what you are going to get, and nobody is going to lose anything on lack of heart in these types of matches.”

Kyle McCollum (120) and Tyler Fisher (126) won by fall in 58 seconds and 1:40 to tie the match for the Bulldogs, and Tyler Berish gave the home team a 30-24 advantage when he won by fall in 2:46 at 132.

Todd Fisher’s forfeit victory at 138 extended Beth-Center’s lead to 30-26 before Rocco Ferraro’s 11-1 major decision win over Andrew LaCotta at 145.

“I give credit to my 145 pounder in that situation where we needed to go the distance, and he fought out of some pretty sticky situations to show heart and go the distance,” Welsh said.

The Highlanders were also without one of their better wrestlers as Nate Yagle was injured.

McGuffey was deducted one team-point for unsportsmanlike conduct.

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