It was one of the wildest semifinals, or any bout for that matter, at the PIAA Class AA Championships, and the ending to Josh Brown's 10-8 overtime loss to South Fayette's Seth Carr might be talked about for awhile.
Carr picked the Claysburg-Kimmel senior up in overtime and appeared to lose his grip. When Brown came down on the mat, it appeared he came down on his neck or head, which would be a slam. If it were called, Brown would have been given a point and won, 9-8.
Instead, the call wasn't made, and Carr easily slipped behind Brown for the winning takedown. Brown stayed down for a bit before walking off the mat on his power.
Photo for the Mirror by?Jon Christoff
C-K’s Josh Brown attempts to fight off a takedown attempt by South Fayette’s Seth Carr.
"I think that Flo Wrestling probably called it right," C-K coach Dave Marko said. "Is that a slam in 99 percent of the matches that take place over the course of the year? Yes. Is the referee going to call it a slam at that point and at that time? No way.
"The only thing I can say is I would hate to win a match that way, but I would sure hate to lose a match that way too. Whenever he hit and didn't move, it would have been sure nice to call potentially dangerous at some point or another, so we could have at least seen if he is OK. When he hit the mat, he didn't try to defend [Carr] going around. Anybody who's ever seen Josh knows that there's no stop in him."
"I don't know how they called it," Brown said, "but I could have shot, and I could have ended it like that."
Brown did a lot of shooting early in the bout against Carr, whom he had lost to in the Thomas Subaru Tournament finals and the Southwest Regional Tournament semifinals. Brown built a 6-3 lead midway through the second thanks to three takedowns.
But it was 7-6 Brown by the end of the period, and Carr took an 8-7 lead in the third with a takedown. Carr was hit with his second stall call with 7 seconds left in the bout to tie the score, 8-8, and send it into OT.
"I just went out and gave it all I got," Brown said. "I had my medal. I had what I wanted, so I wanted to get greedy and get more."
In his next bout, Brown was pinned by Ligonier Valley's Justin Patrick in 3:13 as Patrick avenged his loss to Brown in the District 6 finals. Brown then beat Tri-Valley's Caleb Bordner in OT, 4-2, in the fifth-pace bout.
"In the match against Patrick, he certainly wasn't himself in any way shape or form," Marko said. "But, that's called the semifinal blues. So many kids lose that close match in the semis and drop down [into the consolations]. I've often said that's the toughest match in wrestling. For him to come back today, I'm super proud of him."
Derry Area freshman George Phillipi, who beat Brown, 3-0, in the third-place bout at regionals, won a state title with a 1-0 win over Carr in the finals. Boiling Springs' Korbin Myers beat Patrick, 4-2, for third place. So, four of the top five placers were from the Southwest Regional.
"My goodness, Phillipi lost last week to Patrick," Marko said. "Three weeks ago, Josh beats Patrick. Carr lost to Phillipi at districts. Korbin Myers beats Bordner by one point. Josh beats Bordner by two in overtime. Those five or six guys were just so stinking close to each other. If you wrestle the same tournament over next weekend, you may have a totally different order."
Taylor follows dad's footsteps
The question for Bald Eagle Area's Jake Taylor came up as he was surrounded by reporters near the entrance to the Giant Center floor last Saturday night after he captured the 182-pound Class AAA state title with a nerve-wracking 2-1 ultimate tiebreaker win over Norristown's Brett Harner.
How would you compare to your dad?
His dad is Doug Taylor, who won a Class AAA state title for Bald Eagle Area in 1988 at 126 pounds. The Taylors are only the second father-son combination in Centre County history to win a state title, and it's the first time in 30 years.
The only previous combo was Ron and Scott Pifer. Ron won titles for Bellefonte in 1957 and 1958, and his son, Scott, won gold for State College in 1983,
Jake Taylor laughed when he was asked the question, and he said, "He was a lightweight, and he was quite a bit better on top than I was. I like to joke around and tell him I'm better than he was, but he doesn't quite let me have that yet."
It was an interesting comment because riding is what got the younger Taylor the state title.
Harner, a four-time placewinner at the state tournament, and Taylor, a three-time placewinner, rode each other out in the 30-second tiebreakers. When it was Taylor's choice for a position in the 30-second ultimate tiebreaker, he chose top.
It wasn't easy, but the decision paid off as he rode Harner the entire 30 seconds and earned the program's 10th state title and the first since Quentin Wright won his second in 2008. It was the second time this year he rode Harner out in the ultimate tiebreaker, with the first being at the Escape The Rock Tournament.
"That's usually not my go-to [position]," Taylor said, "but he was doing a good job of not letting me out, and I didn't want my state championship to come down to a stall call."
"He had success the first time they wrestled, and he was able to ride him out then," BEA coach Steve Millward said. "At that point, the state title is on the line, and it's what he wants to do. Our feel in the corner was he'll know what he wants to do."
When the final seconds ticked off the clock, there was a mixture of cheers from the BEA fan section and boos from the Norristown section, which were, interestingly enough, in the same area of the Giant Center.
The Norristown fans and coaches became livid when a possible Harner takedown at the edge of the mat at the end of regulation wasn't called, and they only got angrier from there on.
"I couldn't really tell if his feet were in or anything from where I was at," Taylor said. "I just knew it was really close and I had to do whatever I could to not get taken down in that situation."
Law comes through
Last year, Forest Hills' Cody Law lost to Bentworth's Francis Mizia, 3-2, in the 160-pound finals after beating him in the regional semifinals, 4-2.
Law, who will wrestle at Penn State, made it to the 160-pound state finals again, but this time he beat Kane's Evan Delong, 5-3, Saturday afternoon.
"I'm just really happy. I'm excited," Law said. "Last year, it didn't end up the way I wanted it to be, so I didn't get to enjoy my state tournament. I've been working forever for this. I finally went out and wrestled pretty good, and I got it.
"I thought about [the state finals loss] every day until right now. Right now, it's finally getting out of my head because I'm a state champ right now. I don't have to worry about that kid anymore, but it haunted me for a long time."
Law is only the second Forest Hills wrestler to win a state title, joining his coach, Jake Strayer, who was a two-time champion and an All-American at Penn State.
"He teaches me everything," Law said of Strayer. "I'm with him almost every day, so I pretty much follow in his footsteps and try to do everything he tells me. He's always right. He's helped me get this far. It's awesome."