DES MOINES — The clock ticked toward zeroes, but Iowa Valley’s Logan Lofthus failed to flinch.
The score: 4-2, in favor of his foe, Taylor Lehman of Clarion-Goldfield, in Friday’s 138-pound Class 1A state wrestling tournament semifinal.
The rousing comeback: Complete after the unranked, but undaunted Lofthus scored a last-second takedown in the third period, then pounced for another one 15 seconds into overtime to punch his ticket to Saturday’s championship with a 6-4 triumph.
“It’s awesome,” said Lofthus, who placed eighth at state last season. “I can’t even explain it.”
Emotional states ranging from elation to business-as-usual rippled through Friday’s seven Gazette area 1A state semifinal winners at Wells Fargo Arena.
Alburnett’s Hunter Washburn (No. 1, 113) and Dylan Windfield (No. 1, 160) locked themselves into their respective finals bouts — one by a whisker, one by fall.
The top-ranked Pirates pushed their class-best points total to 96.5. Emmetsburg is second with 66.
“As long as everyone wrestles hard, we should be fine,” said Windfield, one of six wrestlers to pin their way to the finals.
Washburn (48-2) outlasted second-ranked Zach Ulven of Westwood Sloan, 4-3, to set the stage for a possible second-straight title.
“I really didn’t know him,” Washburn said. “I didn’t even know what his face looked like. … I just go out there and wrestle every match the same.”
North Linn’s Brendan Schott (No. 1 at 170) and West Branch’s Cade Jones (No. 3, 195) also could ascend to the top of the medal stand for the second year in a row.
Schott, 87-0 the past two seasons, hasn’t allowed a takedown at state.
Jones has pinned two of his foes, and hasn’t lost since dropping a match in an early-season tournament.
“My whole goal this season was to repeat as a state champ and a lot of people didn’t think I could do it early in the season,” Jones said. “But who’s talking now?”
Lisbon freshman Carter Happel, No. 2 at 120, also reached the championship and hopes to follow in in the footsteps of his dad, Dean, who won three state crowns for the Lions.
Regina senior Dan Gaffey — who like Windfield has won three tournament bouts by fall — said adding throws to his array of shots has aided his rise in the ranks at 220.
“It’s been really effective,” the second-ranked Gaffey said.
Loftus didn’t throw anything while advancing to the finals, but did jump into the arms of his dad and coach, Joe.
“It’s a dream come true, to tell you the truth,” Joe Lofthus said.