MILL HALL - Tuesday's meeting between Central Mountain and Mifflin County was to be a preview of a possible finals matchup in the District 6 Class AAA duals.
The top seeds will be on neutral mats Saturday when they travel to Tyrone for the semifinals and, barring an upset, their next meeting in the finals. So it really came down to momentum.
And going into the weekend, Central Mountain seems to have all of it. It was another dominating performance by the multiple-time reigning champ.
Sentinel photo by NATE?WILSON
Mifflin County’s Kyle Kahley puts Caleb Stover on the mat for six in the 285-pound weight class Tuesday at Central Mountain.
Central Mountain won all but three of the contested bouts, controlling Mifflin County almost from the opening whistle en route to a 52-17 victory.
The Wildcats are the No. 1 seed in this weekend's district duals, and will face off with the winner of tonight's match between Bellefonte and Philipsburg-Osceola. Mifflin County, seeded second, faces off with No. 3 Westmont-Hilltop in the semifinals. Westmont defeated Bald Eagle Area by 10.
Central Mountain (13-0) had it, scoring the opening takedown in nine of the 12 bouts, and holding a 16-7 edge in the match.
"It's just so important to be aggressive on the mat," Central Mountain coach Doug Buckwalter said. "And it starts in the practice room, developing that confidence in there, opening up and taking your shots. When they stepped out on the mat, they felt that confidence and attacked from the beginning."
Every one of the Wildcats were on the attack, and never let up.
Mifflin County carried the evening's first bout, a 6-5 win by Joe Knarr, when a late third-period escape prove to be the difference.
That's the last time the Huskies (16-3) would be close.
A first-period fall by Dillon Gavlock, a second-period decking by Brian Brill, coupled with a forfeit to Nathaniel Powers and Blaze Buckwalter's dominating performance at 182 opened up a 22-3 lead.
"They wrestled great. They are more ready for this match than we were. It just wasn't our night," Mifflin County coach Kirby Martin said.
The real match-clincher was Devin Stacey, who picked up his ninth-straight win and improved to 11-3 on the season after sticking Cole Welham's shoulders to the mat with two seconds left in the opening period.
Central Mountain led 28-3 at that point, with Mifflin County still looking for its first takedown.
"It's nice starting right there," Buckwalter said. "I thought that Chad Reese wrestled well against one of their better guys and once we get going with Gavlock, Brill and Powers, we can get rolling. Blaze picked up a nice win, and I thought Devin Stacey was the big one. I felt confident that he could get the win, but his pin just kept the momentum flying."
Undefeated Tyson Searer, ranked No. 2 in the state, took Cameron Porter down four times and added multiple sets of near-fall points in a 17-2 win, and Kyle Kahley's late third-period score with about 10 seconds left gave him a 3-2 win over Caleb Stover at heavyweight.
Coupled with a forfeit at 106, Mifflin County was back - down only 11, 28-17.
But Keanan Bottorf pinned Brandon Folk with one second left in the first period, two additional falls by Gavin Caprio and Joey Miller, and two decisions by Bechdel and Cole Hanley put the match away.
"The matches we won, I thought we could win," Martin said. "It was just the rest of the matches. I just thought we wrestled poor tonight. Central Mountain wrestled outstanding."
Saturday's semifinals in Tyrone start at 10 a.m. with the championship to follow around noon.