Chris Zuk's 12-4 major decision clinched fourth-ranked McDonogh's 35-18 victory over Archbishop Curley, the sixth-ranked defending champs, and gave the visiting Eagles their first Maryland Interscholastic Athletic Association dual-meet title yesterday.
With the victory, McDonogh (22-1, 13-0) avoided a three-way tie for the title, with the Friars (12-4, 11-2) coming off Tuesday's loss to No. 1 Mount St. Joseph (21-1, 12-1).
The match was tied 18-18 after Curley's No. 2-ranked Tom Boettcher (152) pinned his opponent in 5: 24 with four bouts left.
But that's when coach Pete Welch's lineup-juggling strategy -- similar to that which had ended a near two-decade losing streak to Gilman -- paid dividends again.
Welch slid Geoff Miller, who was runner-up to Boettcher at last weekend's MIAA tournament up to 160. Welch also moved his 160-pound regular, Mike Hollman, to 171, and 171-pound regular Zuk to 189.
Miller led 16-5 before winning by a pin at 5: 47. Zuk, also an MIAA runner-up, scored his major decision over Eric Oppel, and Hollman held off Bill Szeliga, 10-7. Kellen Williams (heavyweight) bounced Tom Green, 16-4, to complete the winning margin.
"We showed our depth again," said Zuk, a senior and a three-year starter who also led league-championship soccer and lacrosse teams at McDonogh. "Our guys in practice, they push real hard. Our coaches tell us in the end, we're always going to come back -- third period.
"It feels great to be on another [title team]," said Zuk, who is 21-4. "We had a goal set at the beginning of the year, but we're not done yet. We still want to win states next weekend."
Curley led 9-0 after victories in the first three bouts.
Reserve Kevin Artis (103) surprised fourth-ranked Chet Naylor, 9-3; Jim Barbour (112) downed Gabe Sataloff, 6-2; and Darian Kess (119) edged Zak Johns, 10-7. The last two bouts were rematches of their title bouts at last weekend's MIAA tournament, won by No. 1 Mount St. Joseph, and the results were the same.
McDonogh won four of the next five bouts for an 18-12 lead, however, with pins by Josh Rosen (145), and Steve Chester (130), and decisions by Ryan Davis (125) and Travis Holmes (140) -- the latter, by 5-3 in overtime against Tim Curran.
In between, Antwuan Lide (135) beat McDonogh's Matt Eder, 9-3, for Curley, whose MIAA champ, P.J. Kirhagis (145), suffered a torn rotator injury against Mount St. Joseph and is out for the season.
"It was a big turning point for us when Ryan Davis won, and then Chester stepped up with a big pin," said Holmes, one of the team's nine underclassmen. He trailed 2-0 entering the third period of his match.
"I had a little bit of pressure on me, but not as much with those guys on the team," Holmes said. "I think we can be champs at least three, maybe four times."