But the Titan senior changed all of that in just 28 seconds.
With Lorain trailing Clyde for the overall team title by just three points, the Titans needed Hill to not just win the third-place match, which would have scored two points, but also to get the two bonus points awarded for a pin.
So with the weight of the world on his shoulders, Hill made quick work of Westlake’s Ismael Shafei, needing just 28 seconds to record the pin and give the Titans the four points they needed to hold off the Fliers and claim the overall team title, 256-255.
Click any image to view larger.
“Wow, this is a great feeling,” Hill, a 285-pounder, said smiling. “This is only my second year wrestling, and I’ve never had pressure put on me like that before. I was thinking, ‘Man, I don’t know if I want to do this,’ but the team needed me to come through, so I went to work.
“I didn’t want to think about it (getting the pin), I just wanted to go out and do the things I had done throughout the whole tournament just to get to that point. So that’s what I did, and it worked.”
Lorain coach Billy Kopp, a state champion in his days at Southview, could only laugh when thinking of his prematch talk with Hill.
“I went up to him before that match and said, ‘Look, I hate to put this on your shoulders, but here’s what we need you to do,’” Kopp said. “I told him, ‘If you win, we lose by one. If you pin, we win by one.’ Then I said, ‘Who’s the dog?’ and he said ‘I am coach.’ And, yep, he was the dog.”
The Titans entered the second day of wrestling holding a nine-point advantage over Clyde, and pushed the margin to 19 going in to the final round. But the Fliers closed the gap with head-to-head wins over Lorain at 126, 170 and 182, and when Clyde’s Billy Ward won a 5-0 decision at 220, the Fliers moved into the lead.
“That’s how our family comes together,” Kopp said. “If your brother’s down, you pick him up. Whatever needs to be done, you find a way to get it done. That’s how we treat our family, and Devin picked us all up tonight.”
Lorain’s lone champion came at 138 as Eli Garcia won a 9-6 decision over Zach Walker of Copley. Garcia, who defeated Walker last season to earn a trip to state, wasn’t real happy with his performance this time around, but was glad to take home the title.
“I personally thought I’d beat him by more, since I did last year, but he’s good,” Garcia said. “I probably should have kept him up on his feet, because he didn’t seem to be able to do much there, but getting the win feels good. I wrestled a couple of tough matches in the tournament, and that will help down the road.”
Lorain’s Dominic Diaz (2nd, 106), Xaevier Edwards (4th, 120), Johnny Spinkston (2nd, 126), Antione Edwards (3rd, 132), John Findley (2nd, 170), Alec Medina (2nd, 182) and Cedric Peyton (2nd, 195) also placed in the top four for the Titans.
1. Lorain (Lo) 256; 2. Clyde (Cl) 255.5; 3. Copley (Co) 158.5; 4. Jefferson Area (J) 150; 5 Westlake (W) 137.5; 6. Worthington Kilbourne (WK) 134; 7. Midview(M) 132.5.; 8. Hudson (H) 131.5; 9t. Avon Lake (AL) 117.5; 9t. Norwalk St. Paul (NSP) 117.5; 11. Lakewood (La) 93; 12. Kirtland (K) 90; 13. Bay (B) 85.5; 14. Holy Name (HN) 83; 15. Beaver Local (BL) 62; 16. Berea (Be) 13.
- 106 — Championship: Henderson (BL) p. Diaz(Lo) 3:10; Third place: Buehl (H) d. Mayer (AL) 6-1; Fifth place: Goodman (W) d. Oberly (WK) 8-5.
- 112 — Championship: Maple (J) d. Tepper (B) 9-6; Third place: Powell (Co) d. Spreng (W) 6-2; Fifth place:: Francis (K) 4-1 d. White (H) 4-1.
- 120 — Championship: Minnick (Cl) m.d. Hasson (BL) 14-3; Third place: Bait (J) d. X. Edwards (Lo) 8-3; Fifth place:Fritz (NSP) d. Graehling (AL) 11-4.
- 126 — Championship: Miller (Cl) m.d. Spinkston (Lo) 9-1; Third place: Gross (NSP) p. Y. Abdel-Salem (L) 3:56; Fifth place:Szoch (H) d. Davidson (K) 7-2.
- 132 — Championship: W. Abel-Salem (L) m.d. Tomayko (Co); Third place: A.Edwards (Lo); Fifth place: A. Verhiley (HN) o.t. Soomro (WK) 5-3.
- 138 — Championship: Garcia (Lo) d. Walker (Co) 9-6; Third place: D. Flores (Cl) d. Pappas (W) 12-5; Fifth place: Wahl (WK) p. Szuch (M) 2:42.
- 145 — Championship: Nedolast (Co) d. Feckley (L) 6-2; Third place: C. Flores (Cl) d. Coleman (H) 4-2; Fifth place: Payne (M) d. Gundling (WK) 7-6.
- 152 — Championship: Klosz (HN) m.d. Emmerson (AL) 15-4; Third place: Cash (J) m.d. Plas (M) 14-2; Fifth place: Ruma (B) p. Norman (Cl) 1:29.
- 160—Championship: Paul (W) d. Hastings (Co) 4-3; Third place: Frambach (M) p. Mayer (AL) Fifth place: Kubinski (B) d. Stitt (J) 6-5.
- 170 — Championship: Moore (Cl) t.f. Findley (Lo) 16-0; Third place: Zuckerman (M) d. Rojek (AL) 3-2; Fifth place: Tripodi (J) o.t. Wright (B) 5-1.
- 182 — Championship: Smith (Cl) d. Medina (Lo) 9-2; Third place: Sokolow (AL) m.d. Perry (J) 16-2; Fifth place: Ressenger (Lo) m.d. Koellner (Co) 16-8.
- 195—Championship: Mayberry (WK) d. Peyton (Lo) 9-3; Third place; Brettrager (K) m.d. Shouman (W) 13-2; Fifth place: Veltre (HN) d. Dorsey (Co) 4-3.
- 220 — Championship: Ward (Cl) d. Meehan (WK) 5-0; Third place: Trommer (H) d. Zunis (M) 3-0; Fifth place: Riley (NSP) ff. Davis (Lo).
- 285 — Championship: Zuberer (K) d. Severino (J) 8-4; Third place: Hill (Lo) p. Shafel (W) :28; Fifth place: Rospert (NSP) d. Mougey (H) 2-0.
- Most Valuable Wrestler: William Abdel-Salam, Lakewood, 132 pounds.