Lexington gave Fort Dorchester everything it could handle in the Class AAAA Lower State wrestling championship on Wednesday night.
The Patriots proved too strong for the Wildcats (28-10), pulling out a 37-27 home victory in the final two matches for the Fort's second Lower State title in three seasons.
Fort Dorchester (24-1) will wrestle Rock Hill on Saturday at 6 p.m. for the AAAA state championship at Ridge View High School in Columbia.
With the Fort clinging to a three-point lead, Clement Metrejean earned a 13-3 victory over Sean Sinnott in the 112-pound weight class to seal the win. The major decision gave the Fort four team points to make it 34-27, putting the match out of reach for the Wildcats.
"We didn't wrestle great, but they (the Wildcats) didn't have anything to lose," Patriots head coach B.D. LaPrad said. "We ended up losing a couple matches that I thought we should have won."
The match featured two streaks.
The Fort won four straight matches for a 21-3 lead and Lexington battled back with four straight wins to tie it at 21.Then Fort senior Adrian Stewart came through with a huge pin over Brock Baxley at 215 pounds, and T.J. Walker followed with a triple-overtime win over the Lexington's Derrick Eden in the heavyweight class. Those two wins gave the Patriots a 30-21 lead and some breathing room.
But Lexington's Steven Licina pinned Brent Barfield at 103 pounds to cut the lead to 30-27 with two matches left.
"My kids came into a pretty hostile environment and wrestled their tails off," said Lexington head coach Derek Strobel, who is LaPrad's son-in-law. "I am proud of what the kids did we just didn't get enough bonus points and they (Fort) did."
Wins by Wesley Dallas (130), Michael Young (135), Seiji Borja (140) and Ashley Bracklein (145) proved pivotal in the Fort's building its 21-3 edge.
FORT DORCHESTER 37, LEXINGTON 27
125— Motley (L) d. Reddinger 6-2; 130— Dallas (FD) p. Downs; 135— Young (FD) d. Holthousen 20-9; 140— Borja (FD) tf Davis 17-0. 145— Bracklien (FD) p. Ivie 21-3; 152— Howerton (L) d. Ford 14-3; 160— Morales (L) d. Burgarin 9-5; 171— Crawford (L) tf Flores 19-3; 189— Dorrell (L) p. Porter; 215— Stewart (FD) p. Baxley; 285— Walker (FD) d. Eden 3-2 3OT 103— Licina (L) p. Barfield; 112— Metrejean (FD) p. Sinnott 13-3; 119— Bugarin (FD) d. Tyndale 8-7.