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Daily Journal
     February 24, 2020      #74-55 KDJ
 

WRESTLING: Coal City's Jezik wins state title;

By Cody Smith
csmith@daily-journal.com


CHAMPAIGN — When Coal City’s Daniel Jezik squared off against Prairie Central’s Brandon Hoselton for the Class 1A 195-pound title in the IHSA Individual State Finals on Saturday, there wasn’t a pair of eyes focused on anything but the match between the unbeaten Hoselton and Jezik, whose only loss of the season came to Hoselton earlier this season.

But it was Jezik who found himself victorious Saturday, picking up a thrilling 3-2 victory to end his prep wrestling career with his second straight state title at State Farm Center in Champaign.

Jezik’s championship win capped off an incredible individual career that now has seen him rack up state titles in both Class 1A (195) and 2A (182). He’s racked up a 159-26 career record at the individual level, none bigger than his loss-avenging, title-winning victory Saturday.

“I just did a couple things that he didn’t do last time when he beat me,” Jezik said. “It’s a great feeling not just being a state champ but especially getting that revenge from that loss earlier in the season.

“I know Coal City fans really wanted me to beat him,” the Oklahoma State commit added. “So, I really hope I made Coal City proud.”

Jezik was the aggressor early on, but he could not manage to get any points. The first period finished as a grappling fest with neither wrestler allowing an inch nor a point.

However, that score did not last long. Jezik opened the second period by escaping from the bottom position, earning himself the first point of the match. Getting the early lead did not stop Jezik’s aggression. Both wrestlers continued to battle in the neutral position, taking shots that failed to result in points.

The physicality of the match began to wear on both Hoselton and Jezik once the third period came around. Jezik opened the third period on top position before allowing Hoselton a free point by allowing him to get right up to even the match at 1-1 with about 1:45 left in the third.

Shorty after that, Jezik was able to score two points to go up 3-1 after securing a takedown right before they went out of bounds. Hoselton did not go away, as he earned another escape from the bottom position, still giving Jezik a 3-2 edge down the stretch.

After a couple of close calls, Jezik was able to hold off Hoselton, who was in position to score a two-point takedown right as time expired, which ultimately gave Jezik his second state title.

“Obviously, they say your first one is bittersweet, but I think, knowing the level of this match and stuff, I think this one is a little bit more bittersweet,” Jezik said. “I don’t think the 2A or 1A things matter that much; both of them feel great and feel the same way.”

Coal City head coach Mark Masters was proud of how Jezik was able to avenge his early season loss, especially because he was not expected to win it.

“Expect the unexpected,” Masters said.

Keane forced to take 2nd after controversial call

Returning state runner-up and 2018 champion, Peotone’s Paul Keane, had his eyes set on his second state title after receiving his first his sophomore year at 113 pounds. After taking second place in both his freshman and junior seasons Keane wanted to end his career as a two-time champ.

This time around, Keane bumped up a weight class and saw himself in the Class 1A 120-pound championship. He went up against Phoenix Blakely, of Dakota, who entered the match 37-7 compared to Keane’s 44-2 record.

Both grapplers left it all on the mat with neither side giving an inch. The first two periods saw no scoring because both were trying to gain control from the neutral position.

Headed into the third period tied 0-0, Keane saw himself in prime position as he started this final period in top position. Unable to secure a takedown from there, Blakely managed to secure the first point of the match early in the third with an escape.

Keane did not give in so easily with the pressure on the line. He ended up evening the match at one apiece after a penalty for an illegal hold. Tied 1-1 with just a couple of seconds remaining, Keane had his eyes set on overtime, but it didn’t happen because of a controversial call.

Right before the clock hit zero seconds, one of the referees rewarded Blakely with a two-point takedown that was questionable. Peotone head coach Greg Goberville even thought the points could have been rewarded the other way for Keane.

“He was in a grabbing positon; Pauly was really close to getting a two on him,” Goberville said. “Somehow they called two for Dakota, and we had a little discussion, and they said they saw two the other way, and they are the refs.”

Blakely had gained top position on Keane but did not look to be in control because Keane had Blakely’s leg firmly in his grasp, but the call stood, handing Keane his third second-place finish in four years.

“I did not agree with the call. I do not think it should not have been two,” Goberville said. “It should have been an overtime match, but you can only argue with the ref so much. They made the decision, it is what it is. Sometimes, you get what I feel is a bad call, but that’s life.”

Although Keane’s prep career ended in questionable heartbreak, what isn’t in question is the legacy he will leave behind in Peotone.

“At Peotone, we will remember Paul forever for what he has done as a wrestler and as a person,” Goberville said. “He’s a great kid, works hard, and we will definitely miss him in our program.”

Papach settles for 2nd

Coal City senior David Papach found himself in the state title match for the first time in his four-year career Saturday against Bryce Faworski, of Winnebago, in the Class 1A 160-pound championship.

After securing the first points of the match with a first-period takedown, Papach found himself trailing 8-4 headed into the third period. Although he managed to secure two more points in the final moments of the match, Papach ultimately fell short by an 8-6 decision.

Even though Papach was unable to duplicate his teammate’s success, he was content with being able to place for the first time.

“It felt great being able to make it past the semifinals and make it into the finals,” Papach said. “At least a lot of hard work got me into the finals, and I was great enough to take it in and still feel pretty good taking second.”

Papach never thought he would be able to make it this far. When he was a freshman, he was never that into wrestling to begin with. His love for wrestling really grew when he qualified for state his sophomore and junior seasons. Being able to secure a podium finish was something he never thought he would accomplish.

“When I was a freshman, I was never really big into wrestling yet …” Papach said. “So, my freshman year, I would have never thought I would get second.”

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