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Panthers rip Key for region crown


It was mostly all North Carroll again last night as the Panthers marched relentlessly into the inaugural state 1A-2A Dual Meet Championship final four.

The Panthers blitzed county rival Francis Scott Key, 47-17, in the West Regional final at North Carroll.

It was the second time this season the Panthers have manhandled the Eagles, who had hoped to move closer to North Carroll this season in the battle for wrestling supremacy.

Instead, Key has dropped further back, losing the regular-season dual match, 51-18, and now being outscored, 98-35, in the two meetings this season.

The Panthers appear to be on a mission this season in coach Dick Bauerlein's final time around.

Bauerlein and North Carroll are two wins away from the coach's first state championship, as they head for Westminster on Saturday.

"I was a little concerned about Key because I didn't know much about their new lineup," said the Panthers' coach. "I was so busy trying to run these regionals that I didn't have much time to check out lineups and make changes."

But it didn't matter.

North Carroll's big six continued to roll over opponents, led by unbeaten Chris Boog (24-0 at 171), who pinned Josh Crone in just 24 seconds.

Tommy Kiler and Saidrick Lewis both won to improve their records to 23-1, and Doug Dell, Corey Rill and Erik Hott also were winners to make their records 21-3.

Key coach Bill Hyson remained upbeat after the defeat.

"I like the direction our program is headed in," he said. "We've had to use a lot of young people to fill in for some of our veterans. I'm pleased with their effort. I told the kids that North Carroll is a better team."

Randy Owings remained unbeaten for Key (21-0) as he scored a 5-2 decision over Jason Albert.

Early in the semifinals last night, there were no major surprises as the Panthers and Eagles set the stage for a rematch of their regular-season confrontation with wins.

Francis Scott Key did pull off something of a minor surprise by leading all the way to a rather easy 41-27 victory over Monocacy Valley League rival Smithsburg.

Third-seeded Key clinched the win over second-seeded Smithsburg in the 160-pound bout when Robert Buntin pinned Mike Wagner in 4:41.

That gave the Eagles a 35-15 advantage and they were home free even though Smithsburg won two of the past three bouts with pins.

Hyson went with a revamped lineup featuring a lot of youth against Smithsburg due to the fact some veterans are no longer on the team.

The youngsters didn't hurt the Key cause, helping the Eagles gain revenge for a 30-30 tie with Smithsburg during the regular season.

North Carroll was never threatened in a 56-6 romp over Southern-Garrett in the other semifinal match.

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