EAST ROCKHILL - Have a balanced lineup with a couple of aces mixed in, and a team can do what North Penn does in the Suburban One League Continental Conference.
That formula worked again on a rare, but cool, Saturday night wrestling affair as the Knights overpowered host Pennridge by a 51-23 count.
"We all know what we have to go out and try to do," said North Penn senior Owen Verespy (220 pounds), a PIAA qualifier a year ago who had one of the Knights' seven falls.
"When my match came up I knew what the score was and you want to go out and help the team in any way that you can. I wanted to get a pin for the team and fortunately I was able to do that. It felt good. A lot of guys really came through for us tonight and we need to keep it going. Our goal every year is to win the (conference) championship and that's what we're trying to do."
The win moved North Penn to 3-0 in the SOL Continental Conference and into a tie with 3-0 Central Bucks East. The two-time defending conference champion Knights host the Patriots on Feb. 7, the last night of the regular season. The loss dropped the Rams to 1-3 in the conference.
"North Penn has a tough team up and down the lineup and really do a good job," Pennridge head coach R.P. Norley said. "I was glad that we got some of our guys back tonight and now we need to get ready for the tournaments.
"We want to get everybody healthy and set (for the postseason). We're getting there and we're going to use the time between now and then to get everybody sharp."
The hosts stayed close to the Knights early on (the match started at 138) thanks to pins from freshman Fabian Padin (138) and junior Evan Widing (152), along with a technical fall from senior Josh Stillings (182) and a decision from senior David Blanchard (195), who returned from an injury sustained early in the season.
That flurry gave the Rams a 20-15 cushion before Verespy, freshman Ed Galang (106), sophomore Jabez Chae (113), sophomore Alec Schrum (126) and freshman Nophir Harrell (132) picked up pins as the Knights pulled away for the win.
"I think Alec Schrum and Nophir Harrell really wrestled well for us," NP head coach Rob Shettsline said. "We knew Pennridge was tough, and that they were getting some of their guys back in the lineup, but our guys did a nice job and I was pleased with our effort.
"We have some tough matches left and we're going to keep working hard to make sure we're ready to go."
Notes: It was senior night for the Rams. ... The seedings for the PIAA District One Class AA and AAA Team Duals will be released Sunday. Council Rock South is the defending Class AAA champion and will be the No. 1 seed this year in the 16-team field. The top four teams in Class AAA will qualify for the PIAA state duals while only the Class AA champ earns a spot in states. The first round in Class AAA will be held Thursday with the championship finals and consolation finals set for Feb. 3 at Upper Dublin. Because of a rash of injuries, Pennridge is not expected to participate in the Duals. On the flip side, North Penn, which usually skips the duals, will be competing this year. ... The Knights wrestle at Souderton on Wednesday (7p.m.) while the Rams host Central Bucks West the same night (7 p.m.). ... Coaches from both Souderton and CB East were on hand to scout the Knights.