The Indians held a 21-point advantage after the matches from 160 pounds to heavyweight. It was enough for a 37-33 victory over the defending champion Hilltoppers.
“It came down to the efforts of all 14 of our wrestlers to compete to the best of their ability and we came out on top,” D-B coach Wesley Idlette said. “Our kids understood that every single point mattered. Even if you lost, was it by pin, by tech (fall), major (decision) or decision. They did a great job of giving everything they had and we came out victorious.”
The Morrisette brothers, Tre and Clint, gave the Indians the early momentum and a 12-0 lead with a couple of quick pins at the 160 and 170-pound weight classes.
Liam Medina gave Science Hill a brief bounce-back with a 5-3 decision at 182. Eli Smith turned the momentum back in the Indians’ favor, rallying from a 7-1 deficit in the third period to take a 10-8 decision over the Hilltoppers’ Levi Grunder.
“Eli gave maximum effort. That’s what we preach: to give everything you have on the mat,” Idlette said. “He made sure to empty everything on the mat and I’m extremely proud of him.”
A quick pin by Jesse Greer and a 9-2 decision for Caleb Burleson gave the Indians a 24-3 lead at the end of the upper weight classes.
Hayden Bobo looked to spark a Science Hill rally with a pinfall at 106. The teams split the next two matches as D-B’s Gavin Armstrong and Science Hill’s Giovanni Demetrikopolos each won by pinfall.
It set up a showdown at 126 between two of the squad’s top grapplers in which the Tribe’s Brennan Watkins scored a 16-6 major decision over the Hilltoppers’ Javelle Gillespie.
Tyler Seeley and Braxton Mann kept Science Hill in the fight with a couple of quick pins at 132 and 138.
Jackson Hurst clinched the match for the Indians with a 9-3 decision over Science Hill’s Jahkye Aples at 145.
“That last couple of seconds I was just watching out because he’s a big thrower,” Hurst said. “Once I realized I had stalled him out and got the win, it was good to be that guy for the team. It was a great feeling.”
Joseph Frye gave the Hilltoppers something to cheer about in the final match, winning by pinfall in 41 seconds.
Overall, Science Hill coach Jimmy Miller was proud of his young squad, which clinched a berth in the state tournament with a 47-30 win over host Jefferson County in the semifinals.
“We’re young in a lot of positions. We had a freshman at 195 and a freshman at heavyweight,” Miller said. “I couldn’t be more proud of our kids. It has been a gut-wrenching week, but the kids put it on the line for their team and I find no fault.
“We’re going back to state and there’s always a chance. Luckily, we were able to dispatch Jeff County and get through that match.”
D-B reached the final with a 55-24 win over David Crockett in the semifinal round.
Jefferson County 40, David Crockett 28
The Pioneers jumped out to an early 16-0 lead, only to see Jefferson County rally to tie and eventually come all the way back for the win.
For Crockett, Teagan Waycaster scored a pin at 160, followed by decisions by Storm Johnson at 170 and John Bowman at 182. Damien Vance won a major decision 15-1 in the 195-pound class.
Andrew Branch won by forfeit at 113 and Nathaniel Holder earned a second-period pin at 132 to give the Pioneers a 28-26 lead heading into the final three matches.
The Patriots had two major decisions and a pin for the final score.