By RYAN HERMAN
One thing was asked of Dayton Pfenning, and the Lincolnton senior delivered.
Pfenning pinned his East Lincoln opponent Thursday, clinching a season-ending 48-26 victory over East Lincoln in the season’s final dual-team match for both teams.
Pfenning’s pin of Bailey Knight in the 152-pound weight class snapped a streak of four consecutive individual wins by the Mustangs, and sealed the Wolves’ second Southern District 7 Athletic 2A Conference victory of the year.
Prior to the pin, East Lincoln had turned a 36-6 deficit into a 36-26 bout with two matches left.
Head coach Brent Gates told the senior to give him a pin, and Pfenning did.
“It was just a matter of doing what coach asked, for the team,” Pfenning said. “It’s not really about me, not whatever I do, it’s just about what he asks that I do.”
Ahead 36-6 after three pins, two forfeit wins and two decisions, Lincolnton appeared on its way to an easy win.
Not so fast.
Kasen Allen earned a major decision over Mark Collins, 12-4, at 126. Then Cody Stough tech falled Gerald Tadeja, 17-2, with 1:34 left in the third period to make it 36-15.
Dametrius Stewart led 5-3 with 55 seconds left in the 138-pound match, but Bradley Vanderwerken came back to pin Stewart and cut the Wolves’ lead down to 36-21.
Needing just one win to clinch, Lincolnton failed to get it at 145, where Moses Boyter tech falled Adrian Rojas, 16-0, to cut its lead down to 10.
With Pfenning on deck, Gates knew he could count on a pin.
Pfenning gave it to him in 3:18.
“If all of them wrestled like Dayton did we’d be fine,” Gates said. “You never want to say that you knew that was going to happen … but I knew their lighter weights were pretty good. My kids have always known that if they go up there and lock up and they can’t pin a kid, don’t get pinned. … A tech’s not good, but you’re giving up five (points) instead of six.
“That’s asking a lot, and a couple of them went up there and got hammered, but they didn’t get pinned. And that’s how you win matches.”
With the match already decided, Tanner Cantrell closed things out for the Wolves stronger than a logging chain. He pinned Brandon Prince in 32 seconds, giving eight seniors a victory to end their arduous yet rewarding dual-team careers.
“We’ve come a long, long way,” Pfenning said. “My freshman year we didn’t have any respect. We were the team that people scheduled just to see if they can get some wins.
“Everybody (at Lincolnton) gets a lot more respect. We’re not scheduled as cupcake matches anymore. That feels great knowing that, in four years, that’s how far we’ve come.”