Saturday's rematch between Bermudian Springs High and Boiling Springs started the same as the first: at 195 pounds.

Eagles coach Dave McCollum, however, forfeited the first bout, an immediate departure from what had led his team to a three-point road loss against the Bubblers on Jan. 2, when he had bumped up sophomore Tristan Sponseller to wrestle Logan Murphy.

The new plan wasn't enough to avoid a 29-28 loss at the Spartan Center in Hershey to give Boiling Springs its second consecutive District 3 Class AA team title.

"We decided to give Murphy six and hope the match was going to come down to (Jake) Slonaker, (Tyler) Fitzkee and Sponseller, which it would have," McCollum said. "Unfortunately, we came up short."

Purposely going down 6-0 to a strong Boiling Springs team was a risky maneuver, but bumping Sponseller up again might not have been the best idea. He weighed in at 174.6, nearly 19 pounds less than Murphy's 193.

"I'm looking, 174, 194 (193). Put him up," Boiling Springs coach Rodney Wright said. "It was a 5-4 match last time. It was too close last time for Mouse (McCollum) wanting to make that move."

Brock Linebaugh replaced Jose Arriola at 220 and earned a 4-2 decision to bring the score to 6-3, but the Bubblers (19-0) won five of next six bouts to take a 25-7 lead. The Eagles (24-2) began a comeback by winning three consecutive matches -- a 4-0 decision by Austin Jackson at 138, an 8-4 decision by Colton Dull and a 10-4 decision by Noah Blasone.


The latter would've been a major decision had Boiling Springs' Andrew Mellott not secured a late reversal that saved one team point.

"If we get the 4-point win there, we're sending Fitzkee and Sponseller out for two pins," McCollum said, "which realistically could've happened."

Added Wright: "To get that reversal was huge. That was huge. That saved that extra point."

Boiling Springs secured its win with a 10-2 major decision in the 160-pound bout between T.J. Nickle and Jake Slonaker. He fell behind 10-1 midway through the third period, but didn't make a strong effort in attacking to gain points.

"I don't know what that was at the end," McCollum said. "I was totally frustrated with that. I know you're tired, mental fatigue late in the match. I'm not sure he was aware of the score or what we needed. He's got those nice long arms. He's got a real nice, low ankle shot. And we had no attempt at all. That's disappointing.

"I've been there. I know what it's like. It's not easy. It's tough."

Fitzkee and Sponseller each received a forfeit, which turned the 29-16 score following Nickle's win into the 29-28 margin.

The Eagles next wrestle District 11 champion Bethlehem Catholic at 4 p.m. Thursday at the Giant Center in Hershey for the first round of the 2011-12 PIAA Team Wrestling Championships.

"I still think this team is capable of playing in the top four at states," McCollum said. "You know, we're just thankful to be here and perform as we did. The kids are going to states. Hopefully, we can go there (this) week and wrestle our best and not lose focus."; 717-637-3736, extension 139