It couldn't have worked out any better for the Chargers. Burns came up with a huge win in a Division III regional final against Smithville that was part of a fast start, allowing Edison to come away with a 41-27 win in Milan.
The victory sent Edison to the eight-team state team dual championships for a second time in the five-year history of the event (2015). The championships will be held at St. John Arena on the campus of Ohio State University in Columbus on Feb. 12.
Oak Harbor, Bethel-Tate, Amanda-Clearcreek, Shadyside, Swanton, Massillon Tuslaw and Mechanicsburg round out the field at state.
On Wednesday, Burns found himself in a low-scoring match against Smithville senior Derek Unkefer at 126 — up 13 pounds from his usual weight class. After Unkefer scored a takedown to tighten up the match at 5-3, Burns had to wrestle smart with the lead — and did so down the stretch to hold on for the narrow decision.
It followed a forfeit at 106 for the Chargers, a 16-0 technical fall win by Ray Adams at 113, and a pin in 1:54 by Gave Mina-Vazquez at 120 to give Edison the early 20-0 lead. Immediately following the Burns win, Max Wolfe (132) and Brady Barnett (138) followed with pinfall wins in 1:43 and 35 seconds, respectively, opening up a 32-0 lead, essentially clinching a spot at state.
“I knew I had to stay solid with the lead, because the team needed the win,” Burns said. “I knew it would serve a big purpose in getting the win. I tried to stay on the offense and keep trying to put up points.
“It helped get the momentum on our side, too,” he added. “After a big match like that, it helps everyone get into the match.”
Alex Neuberger scored an 8-4 decision at 145 for Edison, while older brother Dalton Burns also came away with a low-scoring 2-0 decision at 160 for the Chargers.
“We both got to experience state duals when I was a freshman, and that was a lot of fun,” Dylan said. “It's always fun having a brother on the team — you get to experience it in a way different from everyone else. It's a little more special.”
In the last five weight classes, the Chargers only came away with the win at 182, where Joey Kasper scored a 5-1 decision.
Edison opened the night with a 59-15 blasting of Crestview in the semifinals.
“Dylan went out there and got the job done, then Wolfe gets the pin and Brady does what he always does,” Edison coach Davey Hermes said of the final. “Alex had a nice win as well, so we got that big lead and we needed it. It was the difference. We had to get on them early, because they had some real nice upperweights.
Still, Hermes says his team will need to finish stronger at state in two weeks.
“I'm happy we made it, but we still need to get better,” he said. “It didn't end the way we wanted, losing four of the last five matches. But we have to be happy we made it and we'll regroup.
“It's good for the program, and it's nice to see two SBC schools down there with Oak Harbor,” Hermes added. “That's possibly a state semifinal match there if the seeds break right.”
Against Crestview, Adams, Vazquez, Trent Werner (126), Barnett, Dalton Burns and Sam Stoll (195) each won via pinfall. Neuberger won by technical fall (22-7), Collin Mancuso (152) claimed a 12-6 decision and John Mason Neer (170) won a 5-1 decision.
Dylan Burns and Wolfe won by forfeit over the Cougars. Smithville beat Wayne County Athletic League foe Waynedale, 53-22, to advance to the final against Edison.
The state berth is the start of what Hermes hopes is a big finish to the season.
“It's coming together, and that's because this group of six seniors have worked so hard since they were freshmen,” he said. “Most of them have been in the lineup all four years, and this is the first year with some younger kids sprinkled in where we have depth. We have kids we can take in or out to move our lineup around, which in Division III is huge.
“A lot of teams don't have a full lineup, and that's huge,” Hermes added. “Look at tonight with Smithville without a 106. That match ends up a lot tighter without that forfeit. Our room every day is tougher than most duals that we have. They deserved what they got tonight.”