His Rockets had lost a 17-point lead and trailed by four with just two bouts left after South Western's Logan Feeser pinned Zach Clingan. However, Derek Carlisle won a 7-1 decision to bring the Rockets within one going into Zorbaugh's night-ending match.
"I had it in my head I was going to take it to this kid," he said. "I was going to do what I had to do. And that happened."
That would be South Western forfeit of the final bout to give Spring Grove a 33-28 home win to claim the YAIAA Division I title.
The match ended that way because the Mustangs' expected starter in the 120-pound weight class broke an arm before the dual meet season began, and he wasn't cleared to wrestle after a doctor's visit Tuesday. His backup broke a leg about three weeks ago. South Western coach Brad Zeigler was forced to forfeit, turning a one-point lead into a five-point deficit.
"What are you going to do?" he said.
The ending was a nightmare for Zeigler, both literally and figuratively. Recently, he dreamed the Mustangs (10-4, 8-2) had a tie score heading into the 120-pound bout, but were forced to forfeit.
"It's pretty close," Zeigler said of his dream matching reality.
The loss ruined what had been a spirited Mustang comeback. South Western trailed 24-7 after eight matches, and Spring Grove (16-3, 10-0 YAIAA I) had scored nine consecutive points and 20 of 23.
But then South Western's Jerome Beers pinned Ian Piety in 30 seconds in the 195-pound bout, and teammate Aram Moffitt did the same to Michael Lentz in 5 minutes, 40 seconds. Devon Ackerman's 7-2 decision against Alex Guinn cut the Mustangs' margin to 24-22 with three matches left.
The Mustangs held their first lead, 28-24, after Feeser pinned Clingan.
"They're very talented at the upper weights and at the bottom," Spring Grove coach Tony Miller said. "I knew that could happen.
Added Zorbaugh: "It got more and more urgent (on the bench) as the match went on. As it got closer and closer, I got pretty nervous, but excited. But everyone went out and did what they had to do."
Carlisle defeated Cole Sterrett to bring the Rockets within one, 28-27, before Zorbaugh received a forfeit.
"I was mad at first because they weighed him in, but I guess a win's a win," he said. "It's pretty crazy to go out with a forfeit as a win."
Zeigler tried to stay positive following the match. After all, his team had performed well against a Rocket team that finished 10-0 in the division, and the Mustangs finished near the top of the YAIAA I standings.
"What's going through my head as the seconds started ticking away (after Zorbaugh had taken the mat), I just started thinking that I'm proud to say these kids stepped up," Zeigler said. "Every time we step on the mat, I want to see improvement. I did. It came to us down by a point, and we got to give up a forfeit. It's a dramatic way to end it."
at Spring Grove
SPRING GROVE 33, SO. WESTERN 28
106 -- Logan Feeser, SW, pinned Zach Clingan, 1:16; 113 --Derek Carlisle, SG, dec. Cole Sterrett, 7-1; 120 -- Alec Zorbaugh, SG, won by forfeit; 126 -- Dakota Laughman, SG, maj. decision, Aaron Doll, 10-0; 132 -- Nick Klecker, SW, maj. decision Taylor Gardner, 8-0; 138 --Mason Bentzel, SG, tech. fall Brandon Lookinbill, 15-0 4:56; 145 --Michael Hartman, SG, dec. Bobby Wildasin, 4-1; 152 --Tyler Miller, SG, dec. Colton Rebert, 10-8; 160 --Tyler Cornbower, SW, dec. Austin Barley, 7-1; 170 --Jonathan Gross, SG, pinned Brady Shultz, 3:43; 182 --Levi Luckabaugh, SG, dec. Logan Bowman, 7-4; 195 --Jerome Beers, SW, pinned Ian Piety, 0:30; 220 -- Aram Moffitt, SW, pinned Michael Lentz, 5:40; 285 -- Devon Ackerman, SW, dec. Alex Guinn, 7-2.