A touch of payback and a relentless attack lifted Sam Goings to his second consecutive state title.
The Fallon junior was ferocious on the mat in exacting revenge against Virgin Valley’s Broc Smith, 12-1, in the 160-pound championship bout Saturday at the Winnemucca Events Center.
Goings led the Greenwave to a fifth-place finish with 60 points. Pahrump Valley snapped Lowry’s run of state titles at six, as the Trojans won the crown with 124-110.
“I was nervous,” Goings said. “I knew I could beat that kid. I watched his film from Spring Creek and I went over some stuff, and knew I had him beat when I went in there.”
Smith beat Goings at the Kiwanis Invitational in Spring Creek last month, but on Saturday it was all Goings.
In the first period, he jumped all over Smith as Goings scored a takedown and wrapped Smith into a cradle. Goings was unable to lock his hands and score the pin as Smith broke free.
Goings, though, scored a two-point nearfall to take a 4-0 lead after the first period.
Smith scored an escape, but Goings’ attack was so forceful the two-time champ (he won last year at 138) literally had Smith running off the mat, which gave Goings a 5-1 lead after fleeing the mat call.
Another takedown and nearfall put the lead at 9-1 going into the third period.
From there, it was on Goings to keep the pressure on, while staying cautious and not getting pinned.
“He’s strong and I didn’t have it locked up,” Goings said of the cradle. “When I came in I knew I had to keep pressure on him. I didn’t want him to come anywhere close to winning that match. You got to beat smart … low risk, high reward.”
In the semifinals, Goings scored a third-period pin over Elko’s Jacob Pengally to advance to the title bout. Goings also never trailed in his semifinal match, building a 15-3 lead before sticking Pengally with 1:06 left in the match.
With his second straight title, Goings becomes the first Greenwave grappler to win consecutive state championships in years/decades. Although, the season has just ended, Goings’ mind is set on a three-peat and joining Guy Reilly (1972-74) as Fallon’s only three-time state champs.
“Repeat,” Goings added, “The first one was good, but the second one is sweeter especially since the kid beat me.”
Led by Goings, Fallon had two other wrestlers reach the podium. Senior David Hughes (170) stumbled in a heart-breaking loss in the title bout to Faith Lutheran’s William Bigelow, 6-3.
Sophomore Jack Swisher (138), meanwhile, rallied after an opening-round loss to win the third-place bout over Pahrump Valley’s Levi Gundacker.
Hughes, though, struggled early in his bout as the defending state champ was taken down twice in the first period to trail 4-2. He was caught again in the second period, as Bigelow slammed him to the mat for a commanding 6-2 lead.
In the third period, Hughes, working from the top position and threw everything he could at Bigelow. However, the Faith Lutheran standout wouldn’t budge, as Hughes was unable to turn Bigelow over in hopes of scoring or getting a pin.
It was Hughes’ fourth appearance in the state final as he caps his career with a 1-3 record in those bouts.
“It’s tough for a senior,” Fallon coach Louie Mori said. “When you get down, it sets the base. We had to take top to try and get some points. He was just inches away from turning him … but that’s thing with wrestling.”
Swisher, though, had an impressive rally to topple Gundacker. Gundacker jumped out to a 7-3 lead early in the second period after a reversal and three-point nearfall. But Swisher dug down and turned the tables toward the end of the round.
Swisher scored a pair of nearfalls to tie the bout, but Gundacker scored an escape to take an 8-7 lead into the third period.
Swisher’s strength and determination were too much as he tallied two takedowns and an escape for a 12-8 lead.
Then, like lightening bolt, Swisher struck, wrapped up Gundacker and scored the pin.
“I had to keep going and work my stuff,” Swisher said. “I was going for title and the way he rolled out, I had him. The first match I came out flat footed, but I battled back and took third.”
Fallon’s Jordan Schultz (145) and Matt Goings (152) lost in the consolation semifinals.
Schultz opened the tournament with a win over Eric Awa-Moppert of Desert Pines, but lost his next two bouts falling to eventual champ Luis Lopez of Western, 10-5, in the semifinals and to Jared Ortiz of Mojave, 3-1, in the consolation semifinals.
Goings lost his first bout, won in the consolation quarterfinals before losing to Boulder City’s Pat Garvin, 9-0, in the consolation semifinals.
The rest of Fallon’s contingent — Mason Smith (113), Dylan McAfee (120), Juan Ledesma (182), Wyatt Hampton (220) and Robbie Schostag (285) — each went 0-2.
“Being a freshman at 152 pounds, I was very impressed with his performance,” Mori said of Matt Goings.