FRANCONIA — Just as things looked like they might be heading south for Coatesville’s Chase Stephens, he flipped the script. Literally.
North Penn’s Colin Shannon, who was leading, 3-2, appeared to be nearing a reversal, but the next thing he knew, Stephens was on top of him and the ref’s hand slammed the mat.
Stephens has a way of doing that to opponents, and he chose his biggest stage to pull it off, decking Shannon in the Class AAA Southeast Regional 152-pound finals, Saturday at Souderton High.
“(Shannon’s) a tough wrestler, I’ll give him that,” Stephens said. “He’s very strong and very quick and he’s the toughest opponent I’ve faced this season. I kind of felt the move setting itself up and I went for it and luckily I got it.”
The win was Stephens’ 150th career victory, and the flying cement mixer gave him 104 career pins, which tied the Ches-Mont League record.
“Knowing my dad (Bear) wasn’t able to to win a regional title, it’s nice to get a regional title with the Stephens name on it,” Stephens said. “Now I have to move on for a state title.”
That will be the dream of a record-high 19 top-five state qualifiers from the Ches-Mont when the tournament begins Thursday in Hershey.
The Ches-Mont sent nine to the finals but could only garner three titles.
Downingtown West’s Doug Zapf (106 pounds) started the finals with a 3-0 blanking of Council Rock North’s Luke Lucerne. Zapf scored an escape and a late takedown in the second period and rode Lucerne out in the third for his first regional title and second trip to states.
“It feels great,” said Zapf, who took fourth a year ago. “I remember my freshman year, and even last year, doing things just to get by. Winning it this year and wrestling well, it feels great.”
The Zapf brothers missed out on becoming the first set of brothers from the Ches-Mont to win regional titles in the same year when Cole Zapf (195) was bettered by Owen J. Roberts’ Nick Duliakas, 5-2. Nick Lilley (132) finished fifth to give the Whippets three qualifiers.
Oxford’s David Cox (170) will head to Hershey for the second straight year, this time as a regional champ. He met Octorara’s Ryan Sharpless for the third consecutive week in the finals, but Cox was dominant with a 14-1 major decision.
“It means a lot,” Cox said. “I put a lot of work in for it and it’s something I really wanted to accomplish this year. … It’s really neat. (Sharpless) and I train in the same club in the offseason and it’s awesome someone you work with came out and had that performance.”
Coatesville finished highest of all local schools, tying for fifth, with three qualifiers. Brent Windle (145) was pinned by Council Rock South’s Riley Palmer in the finals, and Sean McBride (182) took fourth.
Lukas Richie got Downingtown East back to Hershey with a runner-up finish to Boyertown’s Matt Wilde, 4-2. Richie pulled the upset of the semifinals, taking out Spring-Ford’s returning fourth-place PIAA medalist, Brandon Meredith.
“I just go in there with a big heart every time,” Richie said. “Last year I didn’t accomplish all my goals and right now it’s all about seeing what I can do.”
Conestoga’s Eric Hutchinson (138) was impressive on his way to the finals but Upper Darby’s Colin Cronin beat him for the third straight week.
Avon Grove’s pair of finalists, Kevin Edwards (182) and Josh Walls (285) came up on the wrong end of decisions. Edwards was stopped by Boyertown’s Elijah Jones, 8-2, and Walls was outdone by Hatboro-Horsham’s Nick Chapman, 5-2.
West Chester Rustin placed seventh with three third-place finishers, Brett Kaliner (126), Dan Labus (152) and Collin Hurley (160).
Kaliner booked his second trip to Hershey with a resounding major decision over Garnet Valley’s Matt Marino, 9-1, after missing out last winter.
“I don’t think I totally got over last year until right about now,” Kaliner said. “Not making it last year after making it the year before fueled me all year.”
Also placing for their first times were Unionville’s Jake Taylor (fourth at 132) and Mike Maguire (fourth, 220), Henderson’s Jake Reid (fourth, 120) and Killian Delaney (fifth, 113) and Sun Valley’s Hunter Catka (fourth, 195).
1. Council Rock South, 113; 2. Boyertown, 92; 3. Owen J. Roberts, 87.5; 4. Council Rock North, 65; 5. Upper Darby, 61; 5. Coatesville, 61; 7. West Chester Rustin, 60; 8. Downingtown West, 58.5; 8. Pennridge, 58.5; 10. North Penn, 54
106- D. Zapf (Downingtown West) dec. Lucerne (CR North), 3-0
113- Wilde (Boyertown) dec. Richie (Downingtown East), 4-2
120- Parker (Pennridge) dec. Burke (CR North), 9-2
126- J. Campbell (Boyertown) dec. Fuss (Harry S. Truman), 6-2
132- Trampe (CR South) tech. fall Fuentes (Norristown), 4:57
138- Cronin (Upper Darby) pinned Hutchinson (Conestoga), 5:23
145- R. Palmer (CR South) pinned Windle (Coatesville), 3:58
152- Stephens (Coatesville) pinned Shannon (North Penn), 3:29
160- Stillings (Pennridge) dec. R. Resnick (Owen J. Roberts), 5-0
170- Cox (Oxford) maj. dec. Sharpless (Octorara), 14-1
182- Jones (Boyertown) dec. Edwards (Avon Grove), 8-2
195- Duliakas (Owen J. Roberts) dec. C. Zapf (Downingtown West), 5-2
285- Chapman (Hatboro-Horsham) dec. Walls (Avon Grove), 5-2
220- Kennerly (Upper Darby) dec. Doyle (CR South), 3-2
106- Mendez (CR South) dec. DelViscio (Penncrest), 10-4
113- Meredith (Spring-Ford) dec. DiBattista (Plymouth Whitemarsh), 5-3 SV
120- L. Resnick (Owen J. Roberts) dec. Reid (Henderson), 5-2
126- B. Kaliner (Rustin) maj. dec. Marino (Garnet Valley), 9-1
132- Robinson (CR North) dec. Taylor (Unionville), 3-2
138- C. Palmer (CR South) dec. Kaba (Academy Park), 13-8
145- Mancini (Owen J. Roberts) dec. R. Stocku (Penncrest), 3-2
152- Labus (Rustin) dec. Livingston (Upper Darby), 3-2
160- Hurley (Rustin) won by forfeit over Vogels (Boyertown)
170- Finn (Pottsgrove) dec. McCoy (William Tennent), 5-3
182- Smith (Spring-Ford) pinned McBride (Coatesville), 2:52
195- Wood (Quakertown) dec. Catka (Sun Valley), 8-3
285- Cooper (Bensalem) dec. Cody (North Penn), 1-0
220- Modugno (Upper Perk) dec. Maguire (Unionville), 6-2
106- Stahl (Quakertown) dec. Celenza (WC East), 9-3
113- Delaney (Henderson) dec. Kuhns (Upper Perk), 7-0
120- D. Campbell (Boyertown) dec. Banyai (Pottsgrove), 8-1
126- Bach (Souderton) dec. Erb (Neshaminy), 4-1
132- Lilley (Downingtown West) won by inj. def. Petrucelli (Owen J. Roberts), 3:15
138- Meredith (Owen J. Roberts) dec. T. Kaliner (Rustin), 4-3
145- Laughlin (North Penn) won by forfeit over Reddington (Methacton)
152- Berry (Boyertown) dec. Kahn (CR South), 5-2
160- Folk (Upper Perk) maj. dec. O’Neill (North Penn), 12-1
170- Marion (Methacton) pinned Blanchard (Pennridge), 2:48
182- Stevens (CB East) maj. dec. Seeley (Great Valley), 16-2
195- Mortimer (Garnet Valley) dec. Lamberjack (Rustin), 9-3
285- Osterhoudt (Neshaminy) pinned Goodman (Marple Newtown), :32
220- Verespy (North Penn) dec. Raimondo (Coatesville), 2-1 TB