With the match on the line, No. 6 Reservoir's Mike Mullens and No. 4 River Hill's Brenden Fennessy lined up for the last bout of the night. On the line was victory in the 160-pound weight class, the match victory, Reservoir's 19-0 record and, probably, the Howard County championship.
And each man had a completely different game plan.
If Mullens could win with a pin, Reservoir would tie the score and win the match based on the number of bouts won. If Fennessy could avoid the pin, River Hill would win based on the final score.
It was River Hill's Fennessy who worked his plan for the 33-30 victory and improved the Hawks' overall record to 29-3.
"It was tough," said Mullens, who was wrestling up a weight class and could manage only a 4-3 decision. "I needed the pin to get six points and he [Fennessy] knew just what to do. It's disappointing, but we still have regional duals and the county tournament."
Across the mat, River Hill coach Brandon Lauer said he was happy the Hawks could pull off the win and voiced relief that they could now move on to the 1A-2A regionals and not have to worry about the Gators, who compete in the 3A-4A region.
"They're having a great season," Lauer said "We had a starter out at 130, but our kids stepped up. In that last match Brenden understood the team score and he managed the match really well."
Fennessy, who had been major decisioned or pinned by Mullens last season, depending on which of them is telling the story, was thrilled to have escaped the rematch without costing his team the match.