Spring-Ford's Tim Miller tries to put OJR's Will Bentley on his back. Miller won the bout 6-5 on a late reversal.
NHSCA Sports Network photo/Joe Evans
Aaron Cummins pins Mike Nesbitt in their 215-pound match, which closed out the dual between SF and OJR.
ROYERSFORD - Spring-Ford got the matchups it so desperately wanted, if not needed.
Spring-Ford also got the win ... a biggie, too.
But the Rams' 37-22 decision of visiting Owen J. Roberts on Wednesday night was nothing more than Round Two in what appears to be a season-long Round Robin of Wrestling in the Pioneer Athletic Conference.
"This was a big PAC-10 match for us, against a very good team, and our kids executed," said Spring-Ford head coach Tim Seislove. "But we're only 2-0, so all we're concerned about now is staying healthy and getting prepared for our next big one next Wednesday night against Perkiomen Valley, and we're all aware of what (Perkiomen Valley) is capable of."
At first, getting to 2-0 (4-1 overall) didn't seem as though it would be as easy as the final score may have indicated.
With a glaring blank spot in the 103-pound slot and another regular coming back from nearly two weeks off due to an injury - not to mention four very formidable challengers from OJR's side of the mat - both Seislove and Wildcats head coach Steve DeRafelo anticipated as close an encounter as the longtime rivals have produced in a considerably long time.
But when Spring-Ford won the coin flip and got an 8-5 decision from 285-pound Justin Franiak in the opening bout, well, Seislove felt a lot better and, of course, DeRafelo felt a lot worse.
"Winning the coin flip helped because we did get some good matchups," Seislove said. "The other thing was that our kids did a good job winning the close matches and those who didn't (win) didn't give up the big points. And Franiak started the night off with a big win and got the ball rolling for us."
That he did, and after Spring-Ford forfeited to Jon Dempsey at 103 and Cole Stewart used an escape with 50-seconds left for a 1-0 thriller at 112 to give OJR a 9-3 lead, the hosts went to work ... getting six straight wins to spin a 28-9 advantage.
Tim Miller (14-4), one of the biggest surprises among area lightweights this season, used a reversal with 14 seconds remaining to edge a very good Will Bentley, 6-5, at 119. Ricky Gorrell, making his varsity debut used a reversal frenzy to post a 10-4 decision at 125 to tie it up at 9-9. Alan Gauger turned three near-falls into a 13-0 major at 130, and Gareth Cooper (13-5) used a third-period rally for a 7-4 decision at 135.
With the Wildcats (2-1, 3-6) in a 16-9 hole - not to mention without a starter due to illness - DeRafelo was forced to forfeit at 140 and 145 and move people up. It worked to some extent, because Connor McCormick (19-4) got a decision at 152 and Nick Fuschino (22-3) followed with a pin at 160 to keep them in it at 28-18 with three bouts remaining.
But Spring-Ford's Matt Patterson (16-4) put it out of reach moments later with a 6-0 shutout at 171.
"We didn't get the matchups we really wanted," DeRafelo said. "We lost the coin toss, and I pretty much knew then that we were in trouble. We needed to have our choice at 125, 140 and 189, but we didn't get that. And a couple of key matches we needed (to win), well, we didn't get them, either.
"We had our chances, but (Spring-Ford) was better than us at the end of the matches. (Spring-Ford) wsa fired up, a lot more pumped up than we were."
"Owen J. is always a big match for us," Gauger said. "This one is always personal."
"Coach (Seislove) has been talking about this one for a while," added Miller. "We didn't about our lineup, either. He kept switching it up."
And sure had the right combinations ready when the whistle blew Wednesday night.
"We knew (the coin flip) would be big, and we talked about a lot of different (lineups)," Gauger explained. "But I felt as a senior I had to step up, too. I had to step up and lead by example. If the seniors don't win there isn't anyone for the rest of the team to look up to."
Andreu Adams and unbeaten Ryan Kemmerer (17-0) took the forfeits at 140 and 145, respectively, for Spring-Ford. ... OJR was without the ill Illyia Tracy at 140. ... After Patterson sealed the deal, OJR's Scott Syrak (22-4) ran a major on Spring-Ford's Alex Kanakis at 189, and the Rams' Aaron Cummins pinned in the 215 finale.