BUCKTOWN - Just about every Boyertown wrestler contributed in his own way Saturday night as the Bears remained undefeated in the Pioneer Athletic Conference with a 39-26 win over host Owen J. Roberts.
Peter Jones and Charles Jones - both of whom came into the night with unimpressive records - pulled out close decisions for the Bears as they whittled away at an early 12-point deficit. Those who were expected to pick up pins - like Trevor MacMinn, Alex Pellicciotti and Tim Feroe - did so in convincing fashion. And Adam Benfield and Ryan Schwager helped out by limiting the damage in losses to strong opponents.
The outcome sets up a battle for first place on Wednesday when Boyertown hosts once-beaten Spring-Ford, a 36-28 winner over Upper Perkiomen earlier Saturday.
"Most of them were key matches," said Bears coach Pete Ventresca. "I can't complain about our kids' efforts. They (the Wildcats) are always a well-coached, hard-nosed bunch of guys. We know it's going to be a dogfight, and that's the way it turned out."
"We're a little bit short," said OJR coach Steve DeRafalo, whose team forfeited the final bout of the night after the Bears had already wrapped things up. "You've got to give them credit. Pete's a great coach. Every kid who goes out there knows what they're doing."
The Wildcats (3-2, 4-7 overall) got a 12-0 jump when Scott Syrek and Randy Keehn pinned their opponents at 215 and 285 pounds, respectively.
Jeremy Minich started the comeback for the Bears (5-0, 11-9) with a major decision at 103 pounds. Then Peter Jones overcame an early takedown with a near-fall in the second period, escaped with 40 seconds left in the match, and held on for a 4-2 win.
Will Bentley boosted the OJR lead to 16-7 with an impressive 9-0 decision of a tough opponent in Matt Malfaro and the Bears still trailed by four points with five bouts to go when Charles Jones picked up a big win. The junior suffered an early takedown, but pulled ahead with an escape and a reversal. Then he hung on to the top position for the entire third period for a 3-2 nod.
Schwager held Nick Fuschino (24-3) to a 9-2 decision and Feroe pinned his man in the first period to put the visitors up, 28-26.
With the Wildcats ready to forfeit the final bout, that clinched the win for the Bears. But Tom McNamara put on an impressive performance for the winners anyway with a technical fall at 171 pounds.
"The Jones' pulled out close wins, which definitely helped," said Ventresca. "We wrestle very, very tough competition. Sometimes records are deceiving. Benfield wrestled tough. MacMinn and Pellicciotti went out and got us six."
Ventresca also recognized the effort of Schwager against Fuschino.
"(Schwager) is a very tough kid," he said. "Fuschino is very tough. (Schwager) did a nice job fighting. He never quit. Tom McNamara performed very well at the end, too."
DeRafelo was also pleased with some of his team's efforts.
"I was real happy with the big guys (Syrek and Keehn) starting out that way," he said. "That was a big win for Bentley at 119. Will has a lot of losses because he's faced some tough kids. Tonight he went after it."
The Wildcats were minus some wrestlers due to injuries, including Connor McCormick, who is still holding at 98 wins for his career.
"We had one or two guys out," said DeRafelo, who expects McCormick to return this coming week. "We have holes that we can't seem to fill."