With the match tied and a chance to clinch victory over visiting No. 2 Mount St. Joseph, McDonogh's 140-pound senior, Joe Breen, told himself, "Don't do nothing stupid. Don't need nothing big, just win."
With that, Breen calmly scored seven takedowns, coasted to a 15-4 major decision over Shane Cannaday and secured a 35-31 dual-meet win that ended a run of three straight Maryland Interscholastic Athletic Association A Conference titles by the Gaels (11-3, 5-1) before a boisterous, overflow crowd of around 1,500.
A second-period pin by freshman Curtis Holmes (130) had given the No. 1 Eagles (17-0, 5-0) a 31-25 advantage with two bouts left, but the match was tied for the third time at 31 after the Gaels' Jon Kohler (135) decked Shane Milam, setting the stage for Breen to clinch McDonogh's first duals crown since taking titles in 2000 and 2001.
"Personally, I lost my first two dual-meet matches against them before winning last year [by technical fall over Kohler]," Breen said. "So it's a great way to go out. The first I've been on a team that's beaten them.'
McDonogh led 9-0 after two bouts, capped by a 19-second pin by Bryn Holmes (152) over Edwin Jackson. Holmes' fall followed a dramatic, 4-2, overtime win by sophomore Kramer Whitelaw (25-6), who trailed 2-0 early but won his bout with Chris King on a takedown in the final five seconds.
"His strategy was different this time. He attacked more," said Whitelaw, who had two earlier, one-point wins over King. "I pulled it out again, but next time, I'll have to bring more offense."
The Gaels won four of the next five bouts for a 19-13 lead, including a 56-second pin by Alex Ward (160), a forfeit to Mack Lewnes (171), a major decision by Jake Bohn (215) and a decision by Andrew DePalma (275). DePalma required a takedown with five seconds left in his 4-2 win over Doug Schenk.
McDonogh's lone win during that stretch was a 15-3 major decision by Alex Pagnotta (189) over Jake Selba. But then, trailing 19-13, McDonogh got consecutive falls from freshman Eric Filipowicz (103) and sophomore Josh Fitch (112). Filipowicz decked Austin Clouse in 60 seconds, and Fitch planted Phil Winters in 4:27, putting the Eagles up 25-19.
The Gaels tied the match at 25, however, as No. 1-ranked Danny Whitenak (119) edged freshman Albert Woody, 4-3, and No. 6 Greg Gold (125) edged Ben Levin, 4-2.