WARDSVILLE - Tuesday night's wrestling dual between the Blair Oaks Falcons and Sedalia Smith-Cotton Tigers was so close, even the rulebook needed to take a closer look at it.
The Falcons rallied from 36-24 down, taking the final three matches to tie it at 36. That meant it went to the rulebook, and it took four different criteria before it was finally decided Blair Oaks had claimed a 37-36 win.
With criteria A, B and C dealing with penalty points and point deductions, criteria D dealt with matches won. With the Falcons claiming eight to the Tigers' six, Blair Oaks escaped with the victory.
"That's the type of match you want to get ready for districts and state," Blair Oaks coach Tim Karsten said. "They pushed us the whole way."
The Falcons had to get those three final matches to close it out, and Alex Gaydos (138 pounds), Logan Mudd and Brad Thomas all delivered.
"They did outstanding jobs," Karsten said.
Gaydos and Smith-Cotton's Jake McFail had a wild first period that featured two takedowns, two reversals, one escape and three near-fall points. A takedown for Gaydos was the only scoring in the second period and McFail had two near-fall points in the third, but Gaydos held on for the victory.
"They wore each other out," Karsten said. "Both of their tanks were empty, they gave everything they had. It was a good match."
Mudd then made quick work of Zach Paynter, winning by fall in just :35.
"You know Logan's not going to let you down," Karsten said.
Then came the match of the night - literally. Thomas and Noah Aziere locked horns in a match that went to three overtimes before a winner was decided.
After regulation ended with it tied at 4, neither wrestler was able to score in the first overtime. Aziere won the flip before the second overtime and deferred, so Thomas started down. He got a reversal just eight seconds in, giving him a 6-4 advantage heading into the next 30-second extra period. Aziere then chose a neutral starting position in an attempt to get a tying takedown, but Thomas fended off all his attempts.
"That was the match of the night - you had to stay to the end to see how it was going to finish up," Karsten said. "Brad's had some big wins for us and he's learning to wrestle smart. Sometimes he wants to go throws, but that isn't always the best for him. Tonight he wrestled a great, great match."
The dual started at 160 pounds and Paul Karsten got things off to a good start for the Falcons, winning 5-0.
After the Tigers got a win by fall, Corbin Singer carved out a hard-fought 7-6 victory. Another pinfall for the Tigers gave them a 12-6 lead, but Blair Oaks came back with Levi Dial (220) winning by fall in 2:14 and John Karsten (285) needing just :32 to get a win by pin.
The Falcons were open at 106 and 113, and the Tigers then got a pin for their third straight six-point victory, taking a 30-18 lead.
Frankie Falotico then stopped the bleeding by getting a pin in 1:44, before another pin for the Tigers gave them the aforementioned 36-24 advantage.
It was a much easier win for the Falcons in the night's first dual, as they cruised to a 61-15 victory despite giving up 12 of those points on opens. Blair Oaks got wins by forfeit for Falotico, Cole Kemna (182), Chance Cumpton (195), Dial and John Karsten.
Four Falcons won by fall - London Gaydos (120), Bo Thomas (132), Mudd and Brad Thomas (160) - while Alex Gaydos won 5-3 and Paul Karsten (152) won 10-1.
"Knob Noster has been up for a long time, and everybody has their down years," Tim Karsten said. "They're always a tough program, so they and Sedalia are always going to make for a long, long night."
The Falcons, who improved to 16-1 in dual matches, return to action Friday and Saturday at the Seneca Tournament.