There have been some dandy wrestling matches between arch-rivals Baylor and McCallie in recent years, but none have been any closer than the one held at McCallie Friday night.
But on a day when it was bitterly cold outside, McCallie's Sports and Activities Center was rocking as the standing-room-only crowd was so loud at times that the floor vibrated. It was certainly worh the price of admission, although no tickets were sold at the door since it was sold out long before the opening whistle.
The drama at the end couldn't have been any better. No Hollywood script could have been written to adequately describe the emotion experienced on both sides. If you want to talk about the thrill of victory and the agony of defeat, this was all about that theme from the old ABC classic Wide World of Sports.
But after 13 individual matches where McCallie had won seven and Baylor six, the visiting Red Raiders were down by a point. A couple of defending state champs -- Baylor's Ryan Parker and McCallie's Nathan Hoodenpyle -- stepped to the center circle with the match on the line.
A penalty point against Hoodenpyle for fleeing the mat in the final minute was the difference as Parker avenged an overtime loss to his senior opponent in the McCallie Invitational for a 3-2 decision and a 31-30 win for Baylor, its 10th straight in this always-competitive series.
After a scoreless first period, Parker drew first blood with a takedown at the 1:16 mark of the second period only to watch as Hoodenpyle escaped 16 seconds later. The McCallie senior escaped immediately to start the third period as the score was tied at 2-2 before he was penalized with 20 seconds remaining. Nobody scored another point at the end.
"It was revenge more than payback, but I knew I had to win the match and that's all that mattered," the sophomore Parker said after a brief team meeting following the match.
"I really didn't want to win on a penalty point and I was trying to get a takedown, but I'll take it," Parker smiled after winning for the 35th time in 38 matches this season.
Parker was a bit overjoyed with his win and his reaction cost his team a point in the process, but it didn't have any bearing on the outcome.
Jack Reynolds had posted a technical fall at 106 as Baylor grabbed the lead at 8-6 following the fourth match before McCallie won five of the next six to go up 30-11 following a pin from Griffin Davis at 145.
Things were looking a bit bleak for the Red Raiders at that point, but Blake Sutherland, Bryson Popp and Cayman Seagraves all posted pins to make it 30-29 with the Parker-Hoodenpyle match to settle it.
"That's the way we drew it up on paper," said Baylor coach Ben Nelson in jest after the nail-biter ended.
"As a team, we didn't wrestle very well tonight, but we were very fortunate to get out of here with a win. We had a few kids step up at the end and I felt good knowing that our horses were yet to wrestle at the end when we were behind.
"It's unfortunate that we have to rely on them so much, but nothing really surprised me in this match. There are very few high school athletic events like this one and it was a great atmosphere. I'm just thankful that we won," Nelson added.
McCallie coach Mike Newman was matter of fact when discussing the loss, the seventh in 16 dual meets for the Blue Tornado.
"It was a war, but just a typical Baylor-McCallie wrestling match. It came down to two state champions at the end, but that's what you expect in a rivalry like this. I'm really proud of my guys as they fought hard and gave us their best effort to put us in the position to win.
"There's still a lot more wrestling to do and the next time we meet will be even bigger. We'll go back to work and keep getting better, but we knew we had to win the close matches tonight and we didn't. It hurts right now, but if a match like this doesn't motivate you to work a little harder, nothing will," he nodded.
Both teams finished with seven wins apiece with Baylor getting three pins, three decisions and one technical fall. McCallie countered with two pins, three decisions, one technical fall and one major decision.
Two of the regular decisions went overtime with each team winning one.
The first came at 220 when McCallie's Jay Roberts scored a takedown 28 seconds into the extra period to beat Jon Schmissrauter by a 4-2 final. Roberts had prevailed 6-5 at the McCallie Invitational before Christmas.
Then at 138, Baylor's Tate Robinson scored a takedown 36 seconds into the extra period to beat two-time defending state champ Adam Connell.
McCallie's Addison Cornell had the fastest pin of the day as he won his match at 113 pounds in just 16 seconds.
Both of these teams will be heading to Franklin next weekend for the State Duals.
BAYLOR 31, McCALLIE 30
(Match started at 195 Pounds)
106 -- Jack Reynolds (B) won by technical fall over Stanton Davis, 4:03;
113 -- Addison Cornell (M) pinned Weston Jarnagin, :16;
120 -- Ethan Dendy (M) won by technical fall over Andy Atchley, 4:18;
126 -- James Westbrook (M) major dec. Caleb Canada, 13-2;
132 -- Brock Herring (M) dec. Caleb Powell, 5-2;
138 -- Tate Robinson (B) dec. Adam Connell, 6-4 in overtime;
145 -- Griffin Davis (M) pinned Preston Troxel, 3:39;
152 -- Blake Sutherland (B) pinned Will Patton, 4:53;
160 -- Bryson Popp (B) pinned Judah Duhm, 4:19;
170 -- Cayman Seagraves (B) pinned Ariel Bong, 3:10;
182 -- Ryan Parker (B) dec. Nathan Hoodenpyle, 3-2;
195 -- Trel Phillips (M) dec. Cooper Reiniche, 7-5;
220 -- Jay Roberts (M) dec. Jon Schmissrauter, 4-2 in overtime;
285 -- Will Thomas (B) dec. Billy Bordman, 3-0.
(email John Hunt at email@example.com)