Finally.

There is a big ol' wrestling match Saturday at the CenturyLink Center.

One of those old-school classics. A battle.

Two unbeaten, returning state champs, one with a shot at a fourth gold and a place in history.

Two seniors who won at different weights last year but have been on a collision course this year.

And two dudes who will swear to you they want it more than the other.

Talent, intrigue and just enough bad blood to keep fans in their seats until the end of show.

Oh, and a state title on the line, too.

Wrestling fans got their wish Friday night when Millard South's Isaac DeLoa and Lincoln Southeast's Jonathan Killingsworth disposed of their semifinal opponents.

On to the next one.

"I was born ready for this," DeLoa said. "I'm ready to go get it."

He looked that way after pinning third-ranked Jake Oltman of Lincoln Southwest in the third period of the first semifinal.

TV SATURDAY

The finals from the CenturyLink Center will be broadcast on NET1 beginning at 3 p.m.

DeLoa sprung up and appeared to give a long look at Killings-worth, who was standing nearby getting ready for his match.

Both admitted afterward that there's a little extra juice for Saturday's championship, which will be the final Class A match of the day.

"I stayed at this weight, knowing I was going to get him," Killings-worth said.

You read that right. Killingworth, who improved to 46-0 on the season with a third-period pin of sixth-ranked Alec Welch of Elkhorn South, remained at 138 pounds knowing full well that DeLoa was dropping from 145 with a shot to become the state's 26th four-time champion.

"I'm pumped and excited," Killings-worth said. "I get to show how good I really am. I get the chance to prove people wrong."

And he gets to do so with a whole lot less pressure than DeLoa.

Win or lose, Killingsworth will finish off a nice career — one with four state medals — before moving on to Division II power St. Cloud State.

The guy who took a nap before his title match last season said he might do the same Saturday.

DeLoa is a little more high-wired. He'd rather do backflips off the walls of the practice room than condition for six-minute affairs.

"I don't like them," he said of three-period battles, "but I like them, you know?"

After being pushed in a win over freshman James Burks of Omaha Burke earlier in the year — in a match that was tied in the third period — DeLoa has been under strict instruction to extend matches to help build his conditioning.

He's the record-holder for career falls in the state, and it's absolutely killing him.

"I just love pinning kids," he said.

The reins will be off Saturday.

The two have never met, but seem to know quite a bit about each other.

The edge in experience has to go to DeLoa, who picked up his 200th career win in Thursday's quarterfinals, and has been in a big-time scrap or two.

He's lost once in the last three seasons.

"I've had plenty of matches like this with a lot of pressure on," DeLoa said. "I always feel like I wrestle better under pressure."

But wrestling pedigree and past wins won't mean much when the two step in the circle Saturday. Especially if it goes the distance.

I'd give DeLoa a slight edge. He's as talented as anyone in the field and should have every reason to be up for his last high school match.

If Killingsworth can drag him out into the deep waters that are the third period, all bets are off.

A true main event awaits. Finally.

Millard South's exclamation point may have punctuated a second straight state title for the Patriots.

Top-ranked 220-pounder Alex Cloyd broke the state's single-season pin record by downing No. 3 Wyatt Olcott of Columbus in the semifinals Friday night.

It capped a day in which the Patriots put three into Saturday's finals — Cloyd, 106-pounder Blake Jackson and three-time champion Isaac DeLoa at 138.

Five other Patriots will wrestle for medals in the consolation round before the championships.

"I thought we'd have a good day if we could get eight medals and we did," Millard South coach Doug Denson said. "I thought it would be a good day if we could get four in the finals and we got three. So, not bad."

Denson predicted before the tournament that it would be difficult for a Class A team to reach 160 points because of parity.

His top-ranked bunch isn't far off, finishing Friday with 128.5 points. The only team within 40 of the Patriots is No. 2 Columbus (103).

"All of these guys are beating each other up and points are flying all over the place to all different teams," Denson said. "We just had to stay a little bit ahead of that."

Cloyd (52-0) capped the day with his record-breaking 49th pin, but will take a back seat to his teammate, the same guy he replaced atop the season pin chart.

DeLoa — the lone wrestler seeking his fourth title Saturday — set the previous mark of 48 falls a year ago.

"Just to be up there with him is awesome," Cloyd said.

The other Millard South finalist was a bit of a surprise. Freshman 106-pounder Blake Jackson avenged a loss earlier in the season with a 3-1 win in ultimate tiebreaker over Fre-mont's Cody Fielder. Fourth-ranked Jackson appeared to score a takedown in the closing seconds of overtime. It was originally awarded, then waved off after the officials conferred.

He rode out Fielder in the first overtime and then spun for a reversal in the second extra session to clinch the win.

"Holy cow," Denson said. "That is the toughest thing when all of that emotion happens. He stuck with it."

Columbus matched Millard South with three finalists, but will have only two other medalists. Kobe Paczosa-Hall (120), Colton Wolfe (195) and Cy Marshall (285) all won for the Discoverers in Friday's semifinals.

The team will likely be without Marshall, though, after he need assistance leaving the mat with what appeared to be a head injury that ended his semifinal with Omaha Creighton Prep's Tristan Wilson. Marshall was awarded the win after it was ruled the slam that injured him was illegal.

Sixth-ranked Omaha Burke qualified three finalists to end the day in fourth place in the team race, a point behind Kearney. The Bearcats will have no wrestlers going for golds.

All three Burke finalists would be considered favorites to win Saturday. Top-ranked 106-pounder Joey Harrison — who is rated nationally — looked the part Friday night and has beaten Jackson of Millard South with first-period pins twice this season.

Teammates James Burks (132) and Connor Fox (152) each have wins over their finals opponents, too.

"All of these guys are beating each other up and points are lying all over the place to all different teams."

Millard South coach Doug Denson

Commenting is limited to Omaha World-Herald subscribers. To sign up, click here.

If you're already a subscriber and need to activate your access or log in, click here.

(0) comments

Welcome to the discussion.

Please keep it clean, turn off CAPS LOCK and don't threaten anyone. Be truthful, nice and proactive. And share with us - we love to hear eyewitness accounts.

You must be a digital subscriber to view this article.