Jake Erickson found out Tuesday morning that he would be competing for the Fort Dodge wrestling team in their Class 3A regional dual match Wednesday.
The freshman 152-pounder had only competed in three varsity matches prior to the final round against Cedar Falls, and with the Dodgers leading 33-27, all Erickson needed was a victory to clinch.
“I was a little nervous,” Erickson said. “I was just focused on getting points and not losing.
“It means a lot to be able to help the team. I’m proud to be a part of this group.”
Erickson dominated, posting a 9-0 major decision victory. The win secured another state dual berth for the defending champion Dodgers, who are headed back to Wells Fargo Arena for a third straight year thanks to a 40-27 victory over the Tigers.
“This means a lot, being able to chase our seventh and eighth (team state) trophies in the last five years,” said FDSH head coach Bobby Thompson. “This is a tribute to everyone that works hard and is on board.
“This is very important to our program, and it means a lot for Dodger wrestling in general.”
Fort Dodge will be in the eight-team state dual field on Wednesday in Des Moines.
After a scoreless first period, Erickson went to work, earning a takedown, two near fall points, and three more takedowns to give the Dodgers the triumph.
“There have been two guys ahead of him at times, so for just finding out he was going to wrestle the day before, he had a huge win,” Thompson said of Erickson. “To get bonus points like that in a key situation was big.”
Fort Dodge was in a tough position, as Cedar Falls started the meet with a fall at 170. Dodger junior Austin Lee (182) evened the score with a fall of his own.
The Tigers then picked up 18 straight points with two forfeits and a fall at heavyweight.
The Dodgers responded with six straight victories, however, including three falls to take a 33-24 advantage they would never relinquish.
Eighth-ranked Brooks Cowell (126 pounds) tied the score with an 8-2 victory over Dylan Whitt, making it 24-all .
Sophomore Dreyzon Phillips (132) pulled the upset of the night, beating ninth-ranked Jackson Barth 11-6, to put the Dodgers up for good at 27-24.
“Dreyzon dominated that match,” Thompson said. “He beat a quality opponent. That was huge for us and his confidence.”
On a night centered around honoring the six FDSH seniors, it was second-ranked 138-pounder Drevon Ross that came up big in crunch time. Ross recorded a fall in 1:38 over Jack Plagge, whose dad, Tim, is Fort Dodge Senior High graduate.
“It’s great to return to state duals, because everyone gets to go,” Ross said. “It’s nice to get aback because it gives us a chance to wrestle against kids we don’t normally see.
“Being (defending) state champions, we were pretty confident that we’d return.”
The six Dodger seniors honored were Ross, Kaden Smith (170), Triston Licht (195), Logan Finowski (285), Hunter Alexander and Trey Kasperbauer.
“I was happy to see that intensity out of Drevon,” Thompson said. “That was the kind of energy we needed, and it was huge to get that fall.”
A rematch of last year’s 113-pound fifth-place bout between Fort Dodge’s fourth-ranked Carson Taylor and Cedar Falls’ sixth-ranked Jakey Penrith was one of the highlighted matches. Taylor earned a fall in 3:43 at Wells Fargo Arena a year ago, and on Wednesday, it took him only 3:27 to record another pin.
“I knew it was going to be a tough match,” Taylor said. “At first I wasn’t on my A game, but once I got that chicken wing in, it was over.
“It’s a great experience, competing at state duals. It’s about going down with your friends and having fun, but working on achieving your goals.”
Thompson was pleased to see the gap widen in the matchup between Taylor and Penrith.
“Last time Carson wrestled Penrith, he was on his back early,” Thompson said. “But Carson has put a ton of work in, and is just that much better (compared to last season).”
Top-ranked sophomore Drake Ayala (113) remained unbeaten with a fall in 1:18 over Reece Deitz.
No. 9 sophomore Lane Cowell recorded an 11-4 decision at 106 over Connor McCarton, and junior Savion Wheat closed the dual with an 8-1 triumph over Lincoln Willett.
Cedar Falls defeated LeMars 45-18 in the semifinal round.
The Dodgers return to action on Saturday when they host a Class 3A district meet. Action will begin at noon inside the FDSH gym.
FORT DODGE 40, CEDAR FALLS 27
170 — Dakota Southworth, CF pinned Kaden Smith, 2:39; 182 — Austin Lee, FD pinned Jack Seffner, 2:26; 195 — Ben Bowman, CF won by forfeit; 220 — Colin Bohenkamp, CF won by forfeit; 285 — Justin Campbell, CF, pinned Logan Finowski, 3:13; 106 — Lane Cowell, FD dec. Connor McCarton, 11-4; 113 — Drake Ayala, FD pinned Reece Deitz, 1:18; 120 — Carson Taylor, FD pinned Jakey Penrith, 3:27; 126 — Brooks Cowell, FD dec. Dylan Whitt, 8-2; 132 — Dreyzon Phillips, FD dec. Jackson Barth, 11-6; 138 — Drevon Ross, FD pinned Jack Plagge, 1:38; 145 — Christian Simpson, CF dec. Kody Cook, 8-2; 152 — Jake Erickson, FD major dec. Mason McCarton, 9-0; 160 — Savion Wheat, FD dec. Lincoln Willett, 8-1.