195-lb Jones makes Bear history with 2nd state title by Gregory R. Norfleet · News · February 22, 2013
Behind 4-3 against No. 1-ranked Emmetsburg’s Austin McCartan and entering the final two-minute period, West Branch’s Cade Jones needed to score. Both Jones and McCartan seemed tired after grappling in the first two periods of the intense Class 1A 195-pound championship round.
McCartan’s four points came on two takedowns; Jones’ three points all came from escapes. McCartan, wanting to keep Jones from earning another escape, motioned to the referee he wanted to start the third period in the neutral position.
Jones, who had not scored a takedown against the 40-1 McCartan yet, now needed one badly.
“I knew I needed to score,” Jones said afterward. “I needed to take a shot.”
Leading up to the championship round, the Iowa High School Athletic Assoc. runs as many as eight mats at once in the state individual wrestling tournament. But in the finals on Saturday night, only three mats remained.
This year, they put Class 1A dead center.
The whistle blew, and the two went at it. They locked arms, but McCartan broke free and lunged for Jones’ legs. Jones blocked the move, and they locked arms again.
Tick. Tick. Tick.
Jones pushed McCartan out of bounds, and the referee brought them back to the center for a reset. Almost immediately, McCartan lunged again, but again Jones blocked it.
Locking arms again, they grappled on their feet.
One minute left.
Jones pushed McCartan away. They stomped toward each other. Just as their hands were about to meet, McCartan ducked and lunged again.
Another block. Arms lock.
Jones again pushed McCartan away.
30 seconds left.
Jones saw an opening.
He slinked his arms under McCartan’s and popped them upward, ducked his head and lunged for McCartan’s right leg above the knee. McCartan failed to block, but managed a wide-armed bear hug around Jones’ torso and leg, kicking his own legs back.
Bears Co-Head Coaches Will Kober and Jason Feuerbach jumped to their feet.
Now it’s on.
Jones had the stronger grip, and pulled McCartan toward him for a better hold.
McCartan kept his balance until Jones lifted McCartan with his shoulder and turned him. McCartan began to tumble, wiggling to free himself while Jones sacrificed one hand for his own balance. McCartan landed in a sitting position, kicking with his legs in an attempt to get away, but Jones regained his two-armed grasp.
Tick. Tick. Tick.
McCartan still had an arm hooked on Jones’ torso, and the referee threw his arms out to indicate Jones did not yet have control.
With 15 seconds left, Jones lifted McCartan’s leg and drove his shoulder into McCartan’s gut, applying the kind of leverage the 195-pound all-state running back could wield; the take-down looked like a tackle.
McCartan, his shoulders rolling back, snapped his body enough to loosen Jones’ grip and turn himself onto his stomach.
The referee shot two fingers into the air at the 14-second mark.
The Emmetsburg senior went wild, trying to throw Jones off him, forcing himself up to his knees at the eight-second mark, only to get pushed back down again.
“It was like the end of a football game where you’re trying to kill time,” Jones said.
Jones grabbed McCartan’s wrist and yanked his hand out from under him like he was trying to turn McCartan for a pin, but Jones only wanted to keep McCartan down.
McCartan bucked and shifted Jones’ hips off his back, lifted himself up on his knees and pushed both of them upward with his powerful arms. He pulled his foot forward and planted it in an attempt to stand — when the referee jumped in and blew the whistle.
Jones, his head gear askew with a strap pushed down almost over his eyes, raised his hands in victory.
He tore off the two red ankle bands, spun them in a churning motion and then threw them up and above his head, allowing them to fall behind him like confetti while West Branch fans went crazy in the upper deck.
“It feels pretty cool,” Jones said of his second title win. “I worked hard for it, and it finally paid off.”
Kober said Jones, who finished the season 48-1, had his own goal of getting a second state title, and so did the coaches.
“It is quite an accomplishment,” the coach said.
Kober said the coaches were not concerned when Jones began the third period down by a point.
“We knew that Cade was capable of winning the match,” he said. “He has been in that situation before in the last couple of years. Cade can score when he needs to.”
And Kober said Jones made the right decision to hold McCartan down.
“We wanted him to ride (McCartan) out,” he said.
Jones’ one loss this season came to Adam Hawkins, ranked No. 2, who landed in the top of the bracket with Jones. The two looked like they would get a rematch in the semifinals, but Hawkins was injured in the quarterfinals while grappling with East Buchanan’s Tyler Hoffman.
“It didn’t really matter to us coaches that the rematch didn’t happen,” Kober said. “We were confident that Cade would beat Hawkins if he met him again.”
When Jones wrestled Hoffman instead, Jones ended up pinning him in the second period. Hoffman tried lunging for Jones’ leg. But instead of Jones putting up a block, he sidestepped Hoffman, pushed down on his head and spun around him, throwing Hoffman into a cradle.
Hoffman bucked and snapped, but Jones held on, rolling him onto his back, but not far enough to pin his shoulders.
Jones then rolled forward, leaning all of his weight on Hoffman and “posting” — balancing — on his own head, lifting Hoffman completely off the ground except for his head and shoulders.
Jones said Hoffman bucked hard.
“He was freaking out,” Jones said. “I thought ‘He’d better call a pin or I’ll be in trouble.’”
In the quarterfinals, Jones faced South Winneshiek’s Chris Brincks, who stood about 6-3 or 6-4.
“He was tall,” Jones said. “I had to take all the chances. Either he was going to make a mistake or I was.”
Jones scored an escape in the second period, and Brincks tied it with the same in the third period. Jones then earned a takedown to go up 3-1, though Brincks escaped in the closing seconds for a 3-2 final.
“Thank God I got that takedown,” Jones said.
Kober said the 24-1 Brincks was tough.
“But probably his height posed the biggest problem to Cade,” he said.
Jones wrestled Lawton-Bronson’s Blake Sappingfield in the opening round, taking him down and then pinning him in the first period.
Jones said this state tournament was more difficult than his junior year, in part because of the pressure to defend his state title.
“But it was also the most fun,” he chuckled.
Jones also beat the rankings again. Last year, he was ranked No. 7 before he won the state title. This year, the Predicament put him at No. 3. Out of four matches, he faced three Top 10-ranked wrestlers: Brincks was No. 8 and finished in fifth place; Hoffman was No. 5 and finished in fourth place, and McCartan was No. 1 and finished in second place.
A star running back on the Bears football team, Jones said he wants to pursue football in college.
“I love wrestling,” he said. “But my passion is football.”
He still plans to advocate for wrestling; he even taught wrestling during the summer. He has yet to decide on a college, but plans to major in criminology and minor in broadcast journalism. He is the sports editor of the high school newspaper, The Bear.
Jones thanked his parents, Lefta and Carrie, for their support, as well as uncle Jeff Krall, aunts Mary Gates and Sarah Krall. He gave a shout-out to his girlfriend, Marisa Kaufman, and Kim Granthan, “who is like a second mom to me.” He said his late grandfather, Bill Krall, and late cousin, Chad Gates, also inspired him.
Jones was also grateful to his current coaches, as well as Marc Juergens, who coached him in the two years’ prior.
“This is the culmination of four years of hard work,” he said.
After receiving his medal, Jones and the team headed out to celebrate. They found Taco Bell and had to use the drive-through.
“Des Moines restaurants close at 10 p.m.,” he said. “You would think they would stay open later for state wrestling.”
Round 1: Jones pinned Lawton-Bronson’s Blake Sappingfield, 1:34;
Quarterfinals: Jones beat South Winneshiek, Calmar’s Chris Brincks 3-2;
Semifinals: Jones pinned East Buchanan, Winthrop’s Tyler Hoffman, 2:34;
Finals: Jones beat Emmetsburg’s Austin McCartan, 5-4