In the final match of his high school career, West Branch senior Joe Tatman provided the momentum swing his team needed.
Unfortunately for Tatman and West Branch, ninth-ranked Lisbon made sure momentum didn’t stay with the Bears for long.
Tatman’s improbable pin at 145 pounds gave West Branch life and momentum cutting Lisbon’s lead to 33-12.
However the Lions answered with an equally stunning pin at 152 and never looked back en route to a 45-24 win in the semifinals of a Class 1A regional dual team meet Tuesday.
“We rallied and a couple of things didn’t go our way,” West Branch coach Jason Feuerbach said. “Give us a couple of those matches, and that’s a lot closer dual. On paper, those matches go our way and we potentially could have won it, but it didn’t go that way.”
Sophomore Drew Finnegan gave West Branch an early lead with a first-period fall over Lisbon’s Dakota Alger at 285 pounds.
Lisbon answered with six straight wins, four coming by fall and one by pin, to take a 33-6 lead.
The Lions got first-period falls from Brandon Martin at 106 pounds, No. 7 Nick Williams at 120 pounds, top-ranked Carter Happel at 132 pounds, and Colten Smith at 138 pounds.
The lone match not decided by forfeit or fall during the six-match streak was Chase McLaughlin’s 5-4 decision over No. 8 Carter Carew 5-4, in which McLaughlin used a late takedown to secure the win.
“Credit to Lisbon and their coaches and their program. They brought it,” Feuerbach said.
Trailing 33-6, Tatman got the Bears back into it with his pin at 145.
Trailing 16-4 in the third period, Tatman caught Tanner Allen on his back near the 5-minute mark and secured the pin with at 5:27 to cut the lead to 33-12 and swing the momentum to West Branch.
The Lions appeared poised to cut the deficit even more as Cole Lacina took a 10-3 lead into the third period, but Lisbon’s Logan Takes returned the favor, putting Lacina on his back and recording the pin in 4:53.
“That’s what happens in this sport,” West Branch senior Casey Pence said. “Joe had a big win for us that could have turned around the match and they came back and did the same thing. That’s the way it goes in this sport.”
Pence and fellow senior Tyler Donovan followed with pins at 160 and 170 pounds, respectively, but Lisbon won the final three matches to secure the win.
Ranked third at 160 pounds, Pence needed just 2:26 to pin Logan Rickard at 170 to move his record to 30-0.
“He was really strong, so it wasn’t as easy to do my normal moves,” Pence said. “I was able to get rolling around and catch him on his back.”
Donovan, ranked sixth at 152, moved to 37-3 as he pinned Connor Woodward at 160 pounds in 3:34 .
LISBON 54, WEST BRANCH 24
106 – Brandon Martin (L) pinned Dayne Ehlts 1:36; 113 – Jack Butteris (L) won by forfeit; 120 – Nick Williams (L) pinned Cale Donovan 1:45; 126 – Chase McLaughlin (L) dec. Carter Carew 5-4; 132 – Carter Happel (L) pinned Nick Madsen :15; 138 – Colten Smith (L) pinned Adam O’Neil 1:38 ; 145 – Joe Tatman (WB) pinned Tanner Allen 5:27; 152 – Logan Takes (L) pinned Cole Lacina 4:53; 160 – Tyler Donovan (WB) pinned Connor Woodward 3:34; 170 – Casey Pence (WB) pinned Logan Rickard 2:26; 182 – Jordan Woodward (L) pinned Luke Lenoch 1:42; 195 – Matt Montgomery (L) dec. Ryan Grosvenor 4-3; 220 – Kaleb McKone (L) won by forfeit; 285 – Drew Finnegan (WB) pinned Dakota Alger 1:09.