ATLANTIC CITY - David Williams got the match he wanted Sunday, but not the result.
His 182-pound state final against Bergen Catholic's Johnny Sebastian started off better than it ended for the Hammonton High School senior.
Williams had the announced crowd of 11,149 screaming fans on their feet when he took the nationally ranked junior down in the first period for an early lead.
But it was Sebastian who had the sellout crowd cheering when he came through for a 4-3 decision and his second state title.
"He got the best of me today," said Williams, who had won his first 40 matches this season entering the final. "It was a good experience, but he got me today."
Williams nearly ended the local drought at states.
No local wrestler has won a state title since Southern's Glenn Carson in 2009, and no Cape-Atlantic League wrestler has left Boardwalk Hall a champion since Holy Spirit's Mac Mancuso in 2007.
Three local wrestlers placed this season.
Holy Spirit sophomore 106-pounder Pat D'Arcy wrestled all the way back to a third-place finish, and Egg Harbor Township's Nigel Toussaint finished eighth at 220.
It was the second straight season in which Sebastian, ranked seventh in the country by InterMat, a national wrestling website, beat a Hammonton opponent in the state finals.
He came from behind to win a 7-3 decision against 2012 grad Phil Bakuckas in the 160-pound final last season.
"I guess it's something about Hammonton," Sebastian said. "Because two years in a row they've had really tough kids."
Williams nearly took Sebastian down twice in the first 20 seconds of the match.
"First period, I went on the aggressive," Williams said. "I got to him pretty quick, if only I finished it."
Williams did finish off a takedown for a 2-0 lead with 49 seconds left in the opening period.
"My strategy was attack, attack, attack and don't let him attack me," Williams said.
Even Sebastian was impressed with the way Williams began the match.
"I watched him throughout this whole tournament and he's been really dominating the first period," Sebastian said. "You could say he dominated the first period of this match, too.
"He came out really strong. I don't think I've wrestled anyone as athletic and as strong as him in my high school career. He's a really tough kid."
Williams said after the match that he regretted releasing Sebastian after taking him down in the first.
"I thought I could take him down again, but that didn't happen," Williams said. "I'm pretty comfortable on my feet. Usually I get away with that, but he's small and he's a block, man."
Sebastian tied the match with an escape point in the second and took the lead for good with a late takedown.
Hammonton never had a state finalist until Bakuckas last season and now has had two in a row.
"Certainly it's not the outcome we wanted, but (David) represented himself tremendously and wrestled a very good competitor," Hammonton coach Dave Mauriello. "Today, we lost by one."
D'Arcy battles back
D'Arcy found out the hard way that wrestling back to third place may actually be a bit tougher than winning the title.
Bergen Catholic freshman phenom Nick Suriano needed just two more wins after taking a 3-0 decision to D'Arcy in the quarterfinals to win his first state title.
D'Arcy, meanwhile, had to win four more matches to finish third, including two rematches against wrestlers to whom he previously lost. D'Arcy wet 6-1 in the grueling three-day tournament.
"It doesn't matter who it is," D'Arcy said. "But it's always nice to get a little payback."
D'Arcy avenged a loss to Clearview's Zack Firestone from the Region 8 finals in wrestlebacks on Saturday. On Sunday, he won a 1-0 decision against Jackson Liberty's Michael Russo, who beat D'Arcy in a match earlier this season.
"You always want to win," D'Arcy said. "Why come to the tournament if you don't want to win it?
"But I'm pretty happy taking third. I have two more years left. I have some room to improve and hopefully I come back stronger next year."
Toussaint lost a 3-0 decision to Emerson-Park Ridge's Robbie Maggiulli to finish eighth in the state.
That even more impressive when considering that Toussaint didn't start wrestling until last year as a junior.
"I'm happy with my performance, and at the same time I feel like I could have done a whole lot better," Toussaint said.
He plans to wrestle in college and is excited to put his name alongside some of the great wrestlers to go through Egg Harbor Township as a state placewinner.
"I'm real fired up," Toussaint said. "Now I can put my name on the board in the wrestling room."
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