INDEPENDENCE — The ending was frenetic and all so fitting.
Matthew Doyle and Cole Davis have combined to win more than 300 matches during their wrestling careers at Independence. It seemed tremendously appropriate that the Mustangs’ fate rested on their ability to deliver two more.
Down seven with only the senior duo left to take the mat at home for the last time, Doyle recorded a fall and Davis scored a winning takedown with two seconds remaining to lift second-ranked Independence to a 31-29 victory over No. 12 Charles City in a Class 2A regional dual final Tuesday night at Independence.
“It’s an amazing feeling,” Davis said. “Some people are scared for the last match to come down to them. I love the excitement, the adrenaline you get and everything about it.”
Independence Coach Michael Doyle had his moments of doubt, but he wouldn’t want anyone else in that spot than the pair that sealed a second straight trip to the State Duals, which is Wednesday, Feb. 19 at Wells Fargo Arena in Des Moines.
“If we’re in position to potentially win the dual then those are the two guys you want to have it coming down to,” Michael Doyle said. “They’ve been solid all year along and their whole careers really. It’s kind of fitting that it happened that way.”
Third-ranked Davis posted a 4-2 decision over No. 10 Elliott Sinnwell in the finale at 170 pounds, causing the Independence crowd to erupt with the decisive score as time expired.
Sinnwell opened the scoring with a second-period reversal. Davis answered with escapes in the second and third, tying it at two apiece with 1:34 remaining.
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Davis remained persistent and on the attack after restarts with 44 and 33 seconds left. Davis made one final attempt and dropped Sinnwell to the mat with two ticks left.
“I felt him get a little tired,” Davis said. “I just knew I had to get that last bit of energy in me to finish and get it. I did.”
Matthew Doyle set the stage for the late heroics. Doyle decked Ethan Peterson in 2:26 at 160, pulling the Mustangs within 29-28. After a takedown for a 2-0 lead after the first, Doyle took Peterson down again, throwing in a half-nelson and driving him to his back.
“I almost baited him,” Matthew Doyle said. “I hit it and it was there. I was wrestling to score points but it was always in the back of my mind that we need six for the team.”
Charles City jumped to a 9-0 lead after two matches. Senior Christian Kremer put Independence on the board with a decision at 220. Kale Wieland won a seesaw affair at 106, scoring a takedown in sudden victory to beat Jacob Vais, 10-8.
Carter Straw’s major decision at 126 was sandwiched between falls from Dalton Hoover (113) and state finalist Isaiah Weber at 132, which gave the Mustangs a 22-15 lead with five bouts to go.
“It’s good,” Michael Doyle said. “I’m really proud of my team.”
Independence earned its 10th state duals berth and it is just the third time it has qualified in consecutive seasons. The Mustangs improved to 28-6, breaking the program record for dual victories in a season of 27 set by the state duals title team in 1997.
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“As a senior group, it’s very small, but everyone was like ‘this is what we want,’” Matthew Doyle said. “We always worked for it. Seeing this reward, being able to go down there, is awesome.”
Family, students and fans milled around the gym for more than 30 minutes after the dual. In the center of the crowd, Davis laid on his back in the large maroon “I” under the spotlight, soaking in the moment a little longer.
“It’s sad knowing it’s our last dual here,” Davis said. “It’s also exciting, knowing that it came down to the last two seniors and making it to state. It’s great.”
Independence beat Mount Vernon 58-10 in Tuesday’s semifinals. Charles City advanced with a 39-24 win over Gilbert.
Independence 31, Charles City 29
(Individual takedowns in parentheses)
182 pounds – Caden Collins (CC) major dec. Marcus Beatty, 15-2 (4,0); 195 – Jack Sindlinger (CC) tech. fall Korver Hupke, 17-2 (5,0); 220 – Christian Kremer (I) dec. Tino Tamayo, 11-4 (2,1); Hwt. – Chase Crooks (CC) dec. Dylan Reuther, 4-0 (1,0); 106 – Kale Wieland (I) dec. Jacob Vais, 10-8 SV1 (2,1); 113 – Dalton Hoover (I) pinned Gage Kilby, :36 (1,0); 120 – Drew Staudt (CC) dec. Ryan Eddy, 8-4 (1,1); 126 – Carter Straw (I) major dec. Nathan Lopez, 15-3 (4,0); 132 – Isaiah Weber (I) pinned Trevor Peterson, 1:19 (3,0); 138 – Bronson Forsyth (CC) tech. fall Tyler Trumblee, 23-7 (8,0); 145 – Alec Staudt (CC) pinned Teegan McEnany, 3:58 (2,0); 152 – Roush Jaeger (CC) dec. Mitch Johnson, 10-8 SV1 (4,1); 160 – Matthew Doyle (I) pinned Ethan Peterson, 2:26 (2,0); 170 – Cole Davis (I) dec. Elliott Sinnwell, 4-2 (1,0).
Takedowns – Charles City 27, Independence 17. Reversals - Charles City 5, Independence 9. Escapes - Charles City 12, Independence 17. Nearfall points - Charles City 23, Independence 9. Penalty points (awarded) - Charles City 4, Independence 2. Total match points Charles City 103, Independence 80.
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