Key's Hyson calm amid a storm


February 10, 1993|By BILL FREE

A high school sports utopia.

That was the scene last Wednesday night at North Carroll, where more than 1,300 people squeezed into the gymnasium to watch the storied Panthers and big-time challenger Francis Scott Key rumble on the mat.

For more than 90 minutes, North Carroll and Key epitomized high school athletics at their finest. Any high school coach or athletic director in the country dreams of nights like these.

The competition was tense, tight and spectacular. It was power against power and never a dull moment before now No. 2 North Carroll turned back No. 5 Key, 31-24.

The students had fun, the coaches loved every minute of it and were excellent examples of sportsmanship, the crowd restrained itself during the one controversial situation in the match, and the wrestlers reacted in a high-class manner once the bouts ended.

It will go down as one of the most spectacular nights in high school sports history in Carroll County.

A lot of people stood tall that evening, from North Carroll athletic director Ed Powelson and Panthers coach Dick Bauerlein to the scorers and timers. Powelson and Bauerlein showed they know how to put on a big-time wrestling match.

But one man emerged as a larger hero than he already is.

That man is Francis Scott Key coach Bill Hyson.

Hyson already is known as a humble man who has built a wrestling powerhouse at the small school of Key.

However, he gained immensely in stature last week for his incredible restraint under the most trying of situations.

Put yourself in Hyson's shoes and then maybe it will be possible to appreciate just how hard it was for the coach to draw back from a major confrontation with referee Rich Logue after a victory was taken away from Key's Josh Bonnette in the 145-pound bout.

After 14 years as varsity wrestling coach at Key, Hyson has the Eagles on the brink of breaking into the elite high school wrestling circles in the state that now are reserved for the likes of North Carroll and Old Mill.

On this night, he takes his charged-up and unbeaten team into North Carroll on a roll.

Four days earlier, Key came out of the Rebel Invitational at South jTC Hagerstown with seven individual champions to three for North Carroll and a 4-0 mark against the Panthers in head-to-head bouts.

Although North Carroll still won the meet by nine points over Key with the help of four runners-up, a third-place finish and two fourth-place finishes, the Eagles had visions of an upset.

North Carroll's unbeaten 171-189-pounder Chris Boog said of the Eagles: "They thought they were going to win."

And when Logue first awarded Bonnette two points for a takedown at the buzzer for what would have been a 5-4 victory over Eric Hott at 145, it looked as if the Eagles had an excellent shot at pulling off the upset with an expected surge in the middle-weight classes.

The early 16-0 North Carroll lead would have been reduced to 19-12 with a win by Bonnette.

The two points for Bonnette were even posted on the scoreboard.

However, Logue, after being questioned by Bauerlein, ruled that Bonnette's two points came after time had run out in the third period. Logue said the runner with the towel tapped him on the back (signifying the buzzer had sounded) before he gave the two points to Bonnette.

Logue told the scorer to take down the two points, then he awarded the win to Hott by a 4-3 decision.

Suddenly in those few seconds, a six-point turnaround occurred and Key was down 22-9 instead of 19-12.

Just think what a less calm, cool and collected individual than Hyson might have done at a controversial moment like that.

But the powerfully built Key coach did what all good coaches should do.

He raced over to Logue in dismay and asked him why the two points for Bonnette were taken down. That was a must to show support for his wrestler and the Key team.

However, Hyson didn't linger and rant and rave. He walked right away from Logue once given an explanation.

And after the match was over and his team had lost by seven points (Key would have been beaten by one point, 28-27, if Bonnette's victory had stood), Hyson didn't make an issue of the changed decision.

He attributed the North Carroll victory to depth, not a referee's call.

What an example of sportsmanship Hyson set for everybody in the North Carroll gym that night. There is a desperate need for more of that in high school sports.

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