Rams overcome modified Owen J. Roberts lineup for win
by Timothy J. Raub, Pottstown Mercury
Posted on February 11, 2005
ROYERSFORD --Knowing his team needed more than just a little luck to get by Pioneer Athletic Conference foe Spring-Ford Thursday night, Owen J. Roberts coach Steve DeRafelo went for the big payoff.
The Wildcats mat boss began the night with a chain-reaction lineup bump that saw regular 171-pounder Tony Fuschino move up to 189, and normal 189-pounder Joey Faust at 215 in a move that would net Owen J. Roberts six quick points, and he went to the well in a big way when he shuffled the lineup from 125 through 145 to pick up a pair of wins and seven points.
But the Rams were able to shake off the early setback, dominate the lightweight bouts and hold off a late Wildcats rally en route to a 33-26 victory Thursday night at Spring-Ford Gymnasium.
"(Spring-Ford is) such a really good team, and we knew this was the only chance we had," DeRafelo said.
"But there were also three or four swing matches, and Spring-Ford won them. We had to win more of those to get the win tonight. We managed to get it close, and obviously I'm not happy that we didn't win, but I thought our kids came out and battled hard."
Fuschino got things going for the Wildcats (4-3 PAC-10) early on when he scored the eventual match-winning reversal with 13 seconds left on the clock to come-from-behind and down the Rams' Mike Platco 11-10.
But after Faust made it a 6-0 match with a 14-9 decision of Spring-Ford counterpart Scott Kodish at 215, the Rams caught fire, winning six of the next seven bouts.
Andrew Casagrande started the run with a 9-3 decision of Bill Minahan at heavyweight to cut the Wildcats' lead to 6-3, and John Martin (103) needed only 5 minutes, 23 seconds to score a technical fall over Will Bentley and give his team its first lead of the night at 8-6.
Spring-Ford's hot streak continued with an 11-4 major decision from Allan Gauger at 112, and a third-period fall by Matt Moley one weight class later as the Rams (5-2) increased their lead to 17-6.
Owen J. Roberts responded with its second lineup shuffle of the night, dropping Jeremy Stierly to 125 where he held off Spring-Ford's J.J. Willow for a 6-3 decision to cut the Rams' lead to eight.
But again, Spring-Ford had an answer for the Wildcats.
Sam Edleman scored a major decision at 130 to make it 21-9, and Eric Smith followed with a second-period fall as the Rams once again were able to put some space between themselves and Owen J. Roberts, 27-9.
Rodney Francis tried to keep his team in the match with a 10-0 blanking of Chad Duffy at 140 to make it a 27-13 score, but a forfeit to Spring-Ford's Mike Moley at 145 put off any hopes of a Wildcat comeback.
"I thought that they might do that," Spring-Ford head coach Tim Seislove said of the Wildcats' lineup shuffles. "They have some really good kids from about 140 on up, and I thought they might take advantage of that and get a couple more wins in there.
"They bumped everybody up, which was smart on their part, and they wrestled tough. We're fortunate to get out of here with a victory."
Phil Rupert (152) scored a fall, and Josh Stierly (160) and Robert Hoffman (171) each had decisions for the Wildcats in the losing effort.
"This year we made it competitive and went for the win," DeRafelo said. "Unfortunately it didn't work out that way."