According to Clint McCaslin, one of the points of emphasis in Bald Eagle Area’s pre-meet team talk was wrestling the full six minutes of the match.
As it turned out, McCaslin had to go a little longer than that to secure the win that allowed the Eagles to knock off unbeaten Central 36-29 Tuesday night.
With the Eagles (4-3) hanging on to a 33-26 lead with two bouts to go, McCaslin took down Bryce Biddle 16 seconds into overtime to secure a 6-4 win and put the meet out of reach of the Dragons.
McCaslin had a 4-1 lead heading into the third period but gave up a takedown and a penalty point for interlocking that knotted the score and sent the bout into overtime.
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“We knew they were going to be tough,” McCaslin said. “They beat us last year. So we said we had to go out and wrestle the whole six minutes. I knew he was going to be tough but it’s nice wrestling when it all comes down to you.
“I made a mistake (that sent the bout into overtime) so I knew I had to get the win in overtime. I knew I had to be on the offensive right away.”
Bainey set the stage for McCaslin’s heroics with some drama of his own as he battled to gain a takedown with two seconds left in the bout to get a 3-1 win over Ethan Kennedy at 132 that made it 33-26.
“I’ve been wrestling him my whole life,” Bainey said. “ I definitely didn’t want to go into overtime. I wanted it so bad and I knew I didn’t have a lot of time so I just gave it my all the last couple of seconds and worked as hard as I could. I knew it was an important win for the team and that’s priority number one.”
The meet started at 152, where the Dragons (7-1) picked up a forfeit, one of two they received.
But BEA countered that with a surprise pin at 160, where Colton Comly pinned Jordan Quarello from the bottom at the 3:58 mark to knot the team score.
Central won the next two bouts as Jared Smith topped Jarrett Shreffler 6-0 with a pair of takedowns and a reversal while Mike Mock moved up from 170 to score a technical fall over Chase Meyers 17-1 in 5:48 to put the Dragons up 14-6.
BEA followed with a fall from Mitchell Taylor at 195, where he pinned Kaleb Gahagan in 16 seconds, and got a forfeit for Josh Fye at heavyweight. The Dragons got a fall at 220 when Mitchell Conrath pinned Ben Bytheway in 5:28.
Central’s lead expanded to 26-18 with a forfeit at 106 before the Eagles began reeling in the Dragons.
Clayton Giedroc had a takedown and two back points to bean Nathan Earnest 4-0 at 113, and Garrett Rigg topped Braeden Swab 11-5 at 120 with four takedowns. At 126, Seth Koleno pinned Brock Biddle at the 4:53 mark to give the Eagles their first lead of the night, 30-26.
“When we had five bouts left we wanted to see what those guys from Rigg to Clint were capable of,” BEA coach Steve Millward said. “We had wanted to be up by a good margin at 120. Forfeiting 12 points we knew we had to look for bonus points so it wouldn’t come down to where it did. Comly’s win was a pleasant surprise. It was great for the team. I’m sure they thought they could have won that one.
“This was a good win considering how we wrestled last week (losing to Bellefonte and Central Mountain). And we remembered how they embarrassed us at their place last year. We reminded the kids how it felt on that long ride home that night.”
Central coach Dave Marko knew that even though his team had been unbeaten, Tuesday’s meet would be a challenge.
“They won the close ones,” he said. “There were some interesting calls but it is what it is. We need to be sure we do what we need to do so it’s not in the hands of the official. Bald Eagle won the matches that were tossups on paper. They took it to us. They got the matchups they wanted. Those matchups were nightmares for us in places.
“We told the kids this would be the best team we’ve seen this year and they certainly exposed our weaknesses in some areas.”
BEA returns to action Saturday when it goes to Bellefonte for the Red Raider Rumble.