Mt. Hebron won a forfeit and a 31-second pin followed to give the Vikings hope entering the final match at Oakland Mills Tuesday night.
They trailed by four, 32-28, entering the 132-pound bout, and Mt. Hebron's cheering section was loud with excitement. The Scorpions' bench and fans, however, were calm and confident because of who was about to take the mat with the match on the line.
"It's always a nice thing when you look at the scoreboard in a four or five point match and look back and there's Kyle Farace standing there ready to go," said Oakland Mills coach Brad Howell.
The drama didn't last long. Farace, a two-time state runner-up who has lost only one match all season, earned a takedown and his patented cross-face cradle followed, as he pinned Vikings freshman Bryce Kampert in 1 minute, 15 seconds to solidify the Scorpions' 38-28 victory on senior night.
"I know he's going to get it done," said Scorpions senior Johnny Rynn. "I definitely know he's going to get it done."
Mt. Hebron (9-2 Howard County, 18-3 overall) had two starters missing in Marcus Suri (160), who has a concussion, and Cassy Lopez (106), who missed weight. Coach Dan Harman said having those two could've made a difference in the result, but ultimately it came down to falling on the wrong end of some close matches and missed opportunities to gain or avoid bonus points.
"I thought we wrestled well considering we had two starters down," Harman said. "I give credit to them; they're wrestling well right now and I see they've shifted down in their weight. They did their thing but I thought overall we wrestled pretty well. The kids I bumped up that aren't normally starters, I think they hung in there."
Oakland Mills (10-1, 15-6) led the entire dual thanks to a solid start from Ben Goldfein (138 pounds) and Rynn (145). Goldfein picked up numerous double-leg takedowns to earn a 15-12 decision, while Rynn had one of his toughest tests of the season in a bout against Mt. Hebron's Jimmy Hayden.
Rynn scored a first-period takedown and held a 2-0 lead after one period, and the two traded reversals in the second to make it 4-2. Hayden (30-2) couldn't turn Rynn in the final period and took his second loss of the season.
Rynn (18-1) said has been preparing for a match against Hayden and worked on his conditioning as a result.
"I knew Jimmy would try to like work my lungs. I made sure the practices before this match that my fitness was really good. It definitely showed and I think I out-worked him," said Rynn, who was named the outstanding lightweight wrestler after winning the SnOverlea Invitational at Overlea on Saturday. "Jimmy is a tough wrestler so I just had to make sure I was mentally prepared for it."
Mt. Hebron missed a chance for a bonus point at 152 pounds, as Ali Pender got Oakland Mills' James Pender on his back in the final seconds but couldn't secure the three-point near fall and had to settle for a 14-0 major decision.
The Scorpions responded and built their lead to 20-4 after major-decision victories from Anthony Morales (160) and Paul Johnson (182) and a pin from Mulbah Kamara (170). Johnson picked up three near-fall points in the final 10 seconds to earn major decision and the extra team point.
The Vikings, however, weren't out of it yet. Shaber Ahmad (195) and heavyweight Nick Nordhausen earned a pair of decisions between a pin from Isa Pender (220) in a back-and-forth battle to cut the deficit to four, but Oakland Mills got a forfeit at 106 and a pin from state runner-up Daiquan Anderson at 113 to extend the lead to 32-16 with three matches remaining.
Mt. Hebron made it a four-point match again after wins from Yahir Lemus (120) and Adam Sherr (126) before Farace sealed the victory.
"I was happy with our overall performance," said Howell. "We kept an eye on the point total, obviously, and we knew that when it was a tough match at 195 that it was out of reach because we knew we had an opportunity to get a couple six-[point wins] in the lightweights."
Oakland Mills will face North Hagerstown on the road Friday before competing in the 1A/2A South regional duals on Feb. 8, while Mt. Hebron might be on the outside looking in in the 3A/4A East regional duals with the loss. It hosts South River, which currently holds the No. 1 spot in the region, on Thursday with the likelihood that it will need a win to qualify for the fourth spot.
"We're on the bubble. We were fourth but with this loss it's tight and we might be out, but we have a lot of things to build on," Harman said. "Going forward I think we're a solid team and we're just going to continue to build."
Oakland Mills (10-1 county, 15-6 overall) — 38, Mt. Hebron (9-2, 18-3) — 28
138: Ben Goldfein (OM) dec. Jamison Hulbert (MH), 15-12 [3-0]
145: Johnny Rynn (OM) dec. Jimmy Hayden (MH), 4-2 [6-0]
152: Ali Pender (MH) major dec. James Pender (OM), 14-0 [6-4]
160: Anthony Morales (OM) major dec. Nick Murphy (MH), 17-6 [10-4]
170: Mulbah Kamara (OM) pinned Gerard Doyle (MH), 1:35 [16-4]
182: Paul Johnson (OM) major dec. Zach Wilhelm (MH), 11-3 [20-4]
195: Shaber Ahmad (MH) dec. Ernie Smith (OM), 4-3 [20-7]
220: Isa Pender (MH) pinned Khalil Abdul-Malik (OM), 2:46 [20-13]
285: Nick Nordhausen (MH) dec. Kyle Boothe (OM), 5-1 [20-16]
106: Jalen Cornelius (OM) fft. [26-16]
113: Daiquan Anderson (OM) pinned Khiem Doan (MH), 1:39 [32-16]
120: Yahir Lemus (MH) fft. [32-22]
126: Adam Scherr (MH) pinned Zubir Gohmon (OM), 0:31 [32-28]
132: Kyle Farace (OM) pinned Bryce Kampert (MH), 1:15 [38-28]
Marriotts Ridge (7-4, 14-6) — 59, Reservoir (4-7, 7-15) — 15
106: Ethan Bohan (MR) pinned Matt Sims (Re) [6-0]
113: Will Vaxmonsky (MR) tech fall Kaz Okamoto (Re) [11-0]
120: Chris Spano (MR) pinned Reese Kilcarr (Re) [17-0]
126: Brett Gladstone (MR) fft. [23-0]
132: Hayoung Park (Re) major dec. Ryan Reeling (MR) [23-4]
138: Jake Fratta (MR) dec. Connor Tayman (Re) [26-4]
145: Todd Del Tufo (Re) tech fall Brandon Citrano (MR) [26-9]
152: Justin Hooper (MR) pinned Jairo Dumas (Re) [32-9]
160: Austin Cestone (MR) pinned Connor Harvey (Re) [38-9]
170: Troy Grandstaff (MR) pinned Alec Shaffer [44-9]
182: Thomas Phipps (MR) fft. [50-9]
195: Stephen Alam (MR) pinned Ben Howe (Re) [56-9]
220: Joey Naidu (MR) dec. Aries Shackleford (Re) [59-9]
285: Tyler Ecker (Re) pinned Tyler Vandenberg (MR) [59-15]
Atholton (6-5, 10-6) — 60, Hammond (3-8, 19-13) — 22
Long Reach (3-8, 3-10) — 36, Howard (2-8, 5-16) — 35