Takedowns and Falls tells the story of a group of Pennsylvania teens and their relationships within a high school wrestling team, on a journey to win a state championship. It chronicles a season of the Central Dauphin Rams in Harrisburg, PA and highlights the sacrifice of its athletes, the commitment of their families and the dedication of its coaches. Inspired by their love of the sport and their cancer-stricken coach, this group of teens grows up before our eyes, in an attempt to overachieve and do the impossible. While observing the team’s emotional roller-coaster season, the film subtly explores themes of humility, family, friendship and teamwork via individual and team efforts to win a state title. The film transcends the sport and becomes a story about people overcoming odds. CDHS is lead by nationally ranked and 2006 state runner-up, Walter Peppelman. He’s a quiet, thoughtful teen who is as driven in the classroom as he is in his sport. Walter must shake the disappointment from the previous year’s over-time loss in the state finals, and focus on the current season, one match at a time. The addition of Walter's younger brother, Marshall, raises the expectations, and a healthy sibling rivalry helps drive them both. Coming off an undefeated junior high career and five Pennsylvania Junior State Championship Titles, Marshall feels the pressure of living up to all the hype, and the success of his brother. CDHS is coached by alum Jeff Sweigard, who like Walter, is a former state runner-up. Although he has coached several wrestlers to State Championship Titles, it was at a smaller school and he has yet to win a team or individual State Championship at CDHS. He is beginning to feel the pressure. Adding to this, his recent diagnosis of cancer has him feeling the clock ticking like never before. Complicating matters even further is coach’s nephew Dougie Sweigard. The charismatic, hyper-talented, problem child is often in trouble and absent from practice and the line-up. His teammates and friends begin to struggle with his issues. Takedowns and Falls is an exciting and beautifully photographed documentary that captures life-lessons that all people can share and learn from. Takedowns and Falls is Spellbound meets Friday Night Lights for high school wrestling, taking place in the U.S. Mecca for the sport.
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