HERSHEY - Northern Lehigh's Ty Herzog entered the Giant Center looking for a spot in the 152-pound Class AA final on Friday night, but ran into a buzzsaw.
Herzog lost a 7-2 decision in his semifinal match against Coudersport's Kyle Bova that dropped him into the consolation round.
Herzog wound up against Hughesville's Kyle Barnes for a chance to wrestle for third place this afternoon and lost a 13-6 decision.
To make matters more difficult, he suffered what appears to be a broken nose with five seconds left in the first period after Hughes scores a takedown and three back points.
"I think it is [broken]," said Noleh head coach Todd Herzog afterwards. "He got blasted straight in the face. It was a knee. They were in that situation where he was kind of in a funk and when he rolled through he was kind of crowded. It was unintentional."
The Bulldog senior, despite using up almost four and a half minutes of blood time, gave it a battle scoring an escape, a takedown, and a reversal. He went into the final period down 10-5 and almost scored a big takedown on the edge of the mat, but went out of bounds.
"We were down to almost 30 seconds left in blood time, but you've got to give him credit," added Todd. "He was down 5-0 against a real good kid and now you have to play catch up and start putting yourself in positions you normally wouldn't do. He chipped away and he got right back in the match. If he gets that headlock in the middle of the mat, it's a five-point turnaround.
"This is always one of the toughest rounds in the state championships. You're coming off a loss not too long ago and you have to refocus quick and it takes a lot out of you."
He'll now wrestle Boe Bonzo of Freedom for fifth place this afternoon.
Earlier in the semifinal bout, Bova (39-1) started on the bottom and escaped five seconds into the middle stanza to break a scoreless tie. He scored a takedown 12 seconds later and then added two back points with 1:27 left for a 5-0 cushion.
Herzog managed an escape at the end of the period and then escaped in the third period to pull within three points. Bova picked up another takedown with 1:07 left on the clock to end the scoring.
Northwestern's Michael Ortiz needed to pick up a win in the second round consis to earn a medal but fell short. Ortiz (33-6) lost a 3-1 decision to South Fayette's Mike Fetchet (41-4).
The Tiger senior gave up an escape and takedown and Fetchet wrestled defensive the rest of the way, giving Ortiz just an escape with 1:13 left in the third period.
"Everyone is tough out here once you get to this round," said Northwestern Lehigh head coach Jim Moll. "You win, you place. That kid wants it just as bad as you do. We watched him wrestle in the quarters and knew he was going to be tough. Michael did what he could, but just didn't get there.
"The kid wrestled smart. The takedown he got in the second period was big. Otherwise it would have been 1-1 and he would have had to open up more. It's hard to get a shot in on kids when they're wrestling defensive, but you've got to be able to score points on kids who are stalling and wrestling not to let you score."
Despite the setback, it was a gutty performance for Ortiz, who overcame serious knee injuries just to compete.
"Michael did a great job this season. No ACL in his left knee and has problems in his right knee, too. He's a tough kid and has improved a lot since the beginning of the season. He learned and adapted pretty well for the situation he was in with the injury."
District 11 recap
District 11 AA wrestlers going for the gold this afternoon include Becahi's Luke Karam at 106, Becahi's Darian Cruz (last year's 106-pound champ) at 120 pounds, Becahi's Zeke Moisey at 126 pounds, Pen Argyl's Mikey Racciato (last year's 138-pound champ) at 145 pounds and Saucon Valley's Ray O'Donnell at 220 pounds,
Karam (32-2) will take on Saegertown's Devin Brown (47-1) in the finals, while Cruz (44-1) draws Bedford's Ryan Easter (36-2). Moisey (26-2) faces Trinity's Ryan Diehl (40-3), Racciato (43-0) goes up against Benton's Colt Cotten (43-5) and O'Donnell (43-3) wrestles Lewsiburg's Brandon Smith (36-1).
Palisades' Jacob Wasser (106), Pius X's Michael Comunale (132), Tri Valley's Ty Schoffstall (160) and Becahi's Andrew Dunn (285) all lost semifinal matches to drop into the consolation round.