Published Friday, February 21, 2014 at 12:01 am / Updated at 12:09 am
Gideon outlasts Puncochar in Class C; Central City’s McCann, Wood River’s Spiehs earn finals’ berth

OMAHA – Sargent/Burwell coach Luke Gideon gets to coach his son Evan for a state championship.

Evan Gideon, No. 1 at 132 pounds, earned a spot into the finals after posting a 3-1 win over Grand Island Central Catholic’s Kaleb Puncochar Friday at the CenturyLink Center.

Evan Gideon will be joined by teammate Brook Huffman, who won a 4-0 win over Logan View’s Evan French. That has the Bulldogs/Longhorns sitting in fourth with 67.5 points. No. 1 O’Neill leads the team standings with 104, just one point ahead of No. 2 David City.

Coach Gideon said he’s excited for the opportunity to coach Evan in the state finals.

“It’s just exciting to be a part of everything and to see him succeed and have a lot of success,” coach Gideon said. “I know how’s hard he’s worked and it’s been a fun season and everyone on the team is better because of him.”

Evan Gideon (46-0) scored the only takedown at the end of the first period and that was the difference as he and Puncochar each scored escapes later on.

Evan said getting a first takedown in a match is key.

“I just kept telling myself that if I get that first takedown, I was going to be in control,” he said. “Most of the time when you get that first take down, you are pretty likely going to win the match. It was a tough match and Kaleb is a very good wrestler.”

Puncochar can still come back to get third in Saturday’s consolation rounds.

GICC coach Roy Emory said he was proud of Puncochar’s effort in the loss.

“He battled hard,” Emory said. “He just got caught in bad position and they caught us off guard and got the takedown. We just couldn’t get the take down. Hopefully he can bounce back and get third.”

Now the Gideons can turn their focus to the finals, where Evan battles No. 2 Joseph Gilham, of O’Neill.

Evan won an earlier match up Gillham 7-6 in overtime earlier in the season. He said he expects another tough match.

“It’s going to be a fun match to compete in,” Luke said. “We’re both great wrestlers.”

Huffman, No. 6 at 220, meanwhile scored a takedown in the first period and then a reversal for the final score. He battles top-ranked Trent Wagner, of Madison, in the finals.

Coach Gideon said he’s happy for Huffman (40-5) and for getting two wrestlers in the finals.

“Brook is just a hard worker and improved his wrestling skills,” he said. “He’s not afraid of hard work. To get two kids in the finals is neat and hopefully they can finish strong for us tomorrow. Those wins help us stay in the top five.”

Central City’s Mikel McCann also earned a spot in the finals.

The Bison senior, ranked No. 3 at 113, rallied from a 4-2 deficit to post a 5-4 win over David City’s Wyatt Phillips, who’s No. 2 in the weight class.

McCann never gave up another point after Phillips got a reversal at the end of the first period. He rode out Phillips the entire second period.

Then in the third period, he scored an escape then recorded a take down with 1 minutes, 12 seconds left in the match.

McCann (39-3) said it was all heart after the first period.

“You never look at the points, you just got to keep wrestling and not worry about the score and just believe,” McCann said. “Even when you are down 14-0, you still have a chance to win. I can’t explain what I’m going through right now.”

McCann was a state qualifier for Central City his freshman with a losing record, then earned a state medal last year where he finished fifth at 113.

Central City coach Darin Garfield said he can’t happier for McCann.

“He’s a kid that’s done things the right way,” Garfield said. “He works his tail off everyday in practice. He just keeps getting better every day. Now he’s going to the state finals. I can’t happier for the kid.”

McCann takes on top-ranked Jason Hansen, of Tekameh-Herman.

Wood River’s Colby Spiehs improved to 46-1 after pinning David City’s Trevor Fozzard in 3:02 minutes at 285.

Spiehs, who’s No. 1 in the weight class, was one match away from medaling before getting beat in the consolation quarterfinals.

He said that’s been huge motivation for him for this year.

“That just drove me to try and to get to Saturday,” Spiehs said. “It’s pretty exciting but I still have one more match to go.”

Spiehs takes on Ainsworth’s Blaine Finney, who’s No. 6, in the finals.

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