It wouldn't have been a Harford Tech-Fallston wrestling match without a little controversy and a lot of drama.
Senior Eric King, the 112-pounder who scored the decisive points for the Cobras against Fallston last year on a disputed takedown with no time on the clock, was at the center of it all again. His 3-2 decision over Scott Parker in the night's final bout gave sixth-ranked and host Harford Tech an exciting, 34-30 victory over the 14th-ranked Cougars.
Fallston coach Andy Amasia was livid that King was not assessed a one-point penalty for stalling that would have tied the match and forced overtime.
"He called stalling the whole match, but when the match was on the line at the end, he wouldn't call it," said Amasia of the referee. "All I ask for is a little consistency and he's not consistent. My kid physically chased [King] the whole third period."
After Mike Long gave the Cobras a 31-30 lead with a pin at 103, King took a 2-0 lead on a first-period takedown, saw the match deadlocked thanks to two Parker escapes, then registered an escape of his own to start the third, giving him the decisive points.
Parker was on the attack for most of the final minutes, but was unable to get the two-point takedown that would have given Fallston (11-2-1, 4-2 Harford County league) the upset.
"It was exactly like last year, but it never should've come down to that," said Cobras coach Gary Siler, whose team improved to 6-1, 5-0 in the league.
The Cobras, aided by pins from Mike Taylor (119) and Ben Sills (125) and a key decision from Brad Dreyer (135), had a 19-3 lead at one point.
But reigning state champion Nathan Bachmann, who pinned Eric Shiebley at 145, started a string in which Fallston claimed six of seven matches to take a 30-25 lead.
Included in that stretch was a 2-1 double-overtime win for Bryan Hughes over Tony Gibson at 152, a late pin by 215-pounder Matt Valeri and a forfeit to heavyweight Jeff Ramsey after the Cobras' Mike Piorunski couldn't wrestle due to an ankle injury.
"It's just so intense," said Dreyer, whose 3-1 decision over Drew Beck revenged an overtime loss to the Fallston wrestler in last year's county championships. "He's just a great wrestler and a class act. Fortunately, I was the better wrestler tonight."