DES MOINES — Fort Dodge has two nationally-ranked wrestlers in its lineup along with a defending state champion and eight other state qualifiers.

Even with all that firepower, North Scott took the dual down to the final bout Wednesday.

Brooks Cowell recorded a 10-4 decision over Cael Bredar at 106 pounds to push the Dodgers past the Lancers 30-27 in a Class 3A state quarterfinal at Wells Fargo Arena.

In recent seasons, Fort Dodge has decided not to wrestle its full lineup for regional duals to keep its stalwarts healthy for the individual tournament. The Dodgers didn’t hold anyone back this time.

“If they’re going to wrestle their full lineup, they’re one of the best teams in the state,” North Scott coach Drew Kelly said. “They’re going to be in the hunt for the 3A title later this week.”

The Lancers managed to rebound with wins over Indianola 37-28 and Cedar Rapids Prairie 39-22 to place fifth. It is the school’s best finish at state duals since back-to-back third-place finishes in 2000 and 2001.

North Scott, the Mississippi Athletic Conference dual team and tournament champions, concluded the dual season with a 29-2 mark. Both losses came to 3A programs that finished in the top four.

“It is nice to know the culture we tried to create really came true,” Lancer 195-pound junior Zach Petersen said. “We created goals right away and everyone had real high hopes of what we wanted to do and one of them was to place at state duals.”

North Scott nearly knocked off Fort Dodge.

After the Dodgers built a 27-9 advantage, Petersen, Wyatt Wriedt (220) and Cole Ernst (285) recorded first-period pins to even the dual.

It was lost opportunities at 170 and 182 that proved costly.

Avion Lard led 9-3 in the second period before dropping a 10-9 bout.

“You’ve got a guy on the ropes, you’ve got to be able to close the door,” Kelly said. "Avion battled, but he just came up short."

Triston Richardson lost a 5-3 overtime bout to Keaton Doranth at 182.

“I thought Triston really out-wrestled him, especially in the second half of the match,” Kelly noted. “We had some opportunities and didn’t close it out.”

North Scott yielded only one pin in the dual, but Fort Dodge finished with a 29-12 advantage in takedowns.

Drew Bennett (113), Brody Teske (120) and Triston Lara (138) are top-ranked for the Dodgers, who went on to finish runner-up to top-ranked Southeast Polk.

Petersen and Wriedt were the only Lancers to finish 3-0 Wednesday.

Kelly said the experience was particularly valuable for his first-time state qualifiers. North Scott has 10 competing in the individual tournament starting Thursday morning.

“Before my first match today, I was real nervous and almost shaking,” Petersen said. “So to come out with a nice win, that gave me a good confidence boost going into the rest of the week.”

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Prep sports editor, with emphasis on covering the Mississippi Athletic Conference and Iowa area high schools. I've been in sports journalism for 17 years, the last five at the Quad-City Times.