Before a capacity crowd in No. 10 Eastern Tech's gymnasium, No. 11 Perry Hall beat the Mavericks, 37-20, in a key Baltimore County 3A-4A League wrestling match last night.
Jeff Taylor (189 pounds, 12-1) pinned Adam Rhea in 1:47 to put the match mathematically out of reach, 31-20, after a decision by teammate Joe Farinetti (171, 11-1).
Heavyweight Jesse Moore pinned Eastern Tech's Jamie Blankenship (9-4) to pad the win for the Gators (9-0 overall, 3-0 in the league). The Mavericks are 6-1, 3-1.
"It was the fourth time that I've wrestled him, and I've pinned him every time," Taylor said. "But if Joe hadn't won, that would have put a lot of pressure on me."
The Mavericks led 14-3 after the first four bouts, as Perry Hall's No. 6, Nick Sidiropoulos (103, 12-0), won, 3-2, on an illegal hold call against Matt Jones (9-4) and the Mavericks' Bernie Rolason (112) scored a technical fall.
That set up the marquee bout, as Perry Hall's fourth-ranked Steve Boothe (119, 10-2) lost, 7-6, in overtime to No. 6 Joe Catlin (13-0). The Mavericks' Brian Nagle (12-1) followed with a first-period pin.
"I was worried because I expected to be ahead at that point," said Perry Hall coach Al Miller. "I thought I'd feel all right after 103, but that 119 match balanced it out."
Perry Hall won the next four bouts for a 22-14 lead, including Luke Rider (135) -- in his first varsity match -- pinning veteran Joe Scruggs (10-2).
The Gators also had Rich Hanzevach (130, 12-0) overcoming a 4-0deficit to win, 6-4, against Ryan Dolly, a major decision by Steve Page (140, 10-2), and a pin by regional champ Brian Yoakum (145, 11-2).
"We thought we had to get the 103 match because up top, they were stronger," said Eastern Tech coach Joey Gast. "Dolly wrestled a good match, but that 135 match really hurt us. Joe just got caught."
The Mavericks trimmed it to 22-20 on two straight victories, as Fred Zais (152, 10-2) won, 11-7, over Austin Kim (10-3), and Rex Marshall (160, 11-2) edged former junior-league rival Doug Clark, 11-9, on atakedown with 16 seconds left.
The Catlin-Boothe match ended controversially.
Boothe, who trailed 6-2 at one point, was down 6-4 when Catlin was penalized a point for locking hands with two seconds left. Boothe's buzzer-beating escape tied the score. But before the whistle blew to start overtime, Boothe was penalized a point for his third false start.
"I thought I pretty much handled him, but the ref gave him some points I think he shouldn't have," said Catlin, referring to second-period back points, which were waved off, then awarded to Boothe after the second period ended.
Boothe, who was fourth in last year's 3A-4A state tournament, holds a 2-1 series lead over Catlin, having won by 7-5 and 9-4 -- the latter on a five-point throw with 15 seconds left.
Perry Hall can all but secure the league championship Thursday with a win over No. 13 Kenwood, which was upset, 33-30, by Pikesville on Tuesday.
Eastern Tech takes on Kenwood the following Thursday.