PROVIDENCE — When Chariho High wrestler Ben Dougherty trailed by four points with just over a minute remaining in the title bout at 170 pounds, he knew something special would have to occur.
Dougherty was able to get a takedown with about 15 seconds left against Jayden Curley of Mansfield, Mass., and he nearly put him to his back for two more points that would have tied the match for the New England championship and forced overtime.
Instead, Curley fought off Dougherty and prevailed, 7-5, for the title Saturday at the Providence Career & Technical Academy.
"I knew I needed a five-point move," Dougherty said. "I had an underhook and I just cranked it with all my strength. He slipped his arm out at the last second."
Dougherty, a two-time Rhode Island state champion, finished 3-1 at New Englands and stands at 45-5 this season.
Dougherty trailed 4-1 after the first period when Curley was able to get two takedowns.
"He was really aggressive and he really used his strength to a great extent," Dougherty said.
Even though Dougherty trailed early, he was still confident.
"I always thought I could get up, get out and attack," Dougherty said. "I was never down and out in my head.
"I'm disappointed, but I'm not totally bent out of shape. I knew it was win or lose, and either way I was going to give 100 percent. I left everything on the mat. I don't have anything else to give."
Curley, a senior, was the Massachusetts All-State champion this season. He has a career record of 155-31 and is a two-time sectional champion in Massachusetts. He was 0-2 at New Englands last season.
"It sucks to lose. It sucks so much and I would have preferred to win so much, but I'm not gonna go home and cry about it," Dougherty said. "I'm going to go back out on the mat."
Dougherty, a senior, plans to wrestle in college at the Rochester Institute of Technology. He hopes to be a computer scientist one day.
"He was able to get the crowd a little excited, and he almost threaded the arm to get some back points and overtime," Chariho coach Scott Merritt said. "I would take him in overtime any day of the week.
"He is only one of four Chariho wrestlers to wrestle for a New England title. That is an honor in itself. I could see him being an All-American [in college]. He is all heart and he's got a bright future."
Chariho recorded its best-ever finish in the team standings with 41 points, good for 11th. Danbury, Conn., won the team title with 88.5. Bishop Hendricken was second (71.5) and Coventry was third (68.5).
Chariho's Dominic Bonanno finished 2-2 at 152 pounds. He lost his final bout in overtime, 3-1, in the consolation round, finishing one win short of the top six and the podium.
Nate Marchione was 2-2 at 195 pounds, and Kyle Merritt was 1-2 at 138, losing to Hendricken's Nick Fine in the consolation round. Fine, who finished fourth, beat Merritt in the state title bout.
Cam Anderson was 1-2 at 182 pounds. One of his losses was to Joel Barlow's Carson Licastri, who was the New England champion.
Rhode Island had two champions — Coventry's Joziah Fry (106 pounds) and Hendricken's Andrew Fallon (120).
A number of Chariho wrestlers will compete in the nationals in Virginia March 29-31.