ROYERSFORD - Spring-Ford's wrestlers knew they had to score in the upper and lower weight classes during Wednesday night's Pioneer Athletic Conference meet against visiting Owen J. Roberts.
The Rams figured they had to pile up points there to offset the Wildcats' strength in the middleweights.
The meet, which began at 189 pounds, proceeded the way Spring-Ford coach Tim Seislove and Owen J. Roberts coach Steve DeRafelo figured it would.
The Rams blitzed the Wildcats early, forging a 30-3 lead after the 125-pound weight class, and then withstood a stout OJR comeback to secure a 34-30 victory at Ram Gymnasium.
"I knew we had to beat them up top (upperweights) and down the bottom (lowerweights)," said Seislove. "Once you hit 125 or 119, they (Wildcats) are pretty solid all the way through there.
"We got the big points up top and got a forfeit at 112. We hit the middle and anything can happen."
The Rams (1-1, 2-1) and Wildcats (1-1, 1-1) divided the 14 weight classes evenly, each winning seven bouts. Each side recorded three falls. The hosts did receive the one forfeit victory to Allan Gauger at 112 pounds and earned bonus points at 135, where two-time state medalist Matt Moley scored a 21-8 major decision over Nick Fuschino.
Gauger raised his personal record to 14-2, and Moley is now 14-3. Moley recently surpassed the 100-victory plateau for his career. Mike Platco, who opened the card with a fall in 49 seconds over Frank Magazu at 189 pounds, is now 14-4.
Jamie Maute (215) picked up a pin in 32 seconds with a headlock move on Mike Gniewoz. The third S-F fall belonged to Gareth Cooper (125). He stopped Josh Rice at 1:25 with the score 2-2 at the time of the pin.
Stierly (15-1) halted J.J. Willow (12-7) at 1:44 after taking a 5-0 lead on a takedown and three-point near fall to ignite the Wildcats' comeback.
Francis (12-2) needed 3:56 to flatten John Tscheschlog with a 4-3 lead at the time. Francis trailed 3-2 after one period.
Hoffman (15-1) scored a fall in 3:33 over Chris DiPaul. Hoffman amassed an 11-0 lead after one period and 15-1 at the time of the pin.
"I am proud of the kids," DeRafelo said. "They gutted it out. We had it figured 10 different ways and none of them looked pretty good. I was happy. Those guys (Rams) are tough. Our guys are inexperienced. We have two new kids. I am happy. We gutted it out in some matches."
Stierly, he said, struggled with Willow, whom DeRafelo considers a "tough kid" before gaining the slap from referee Larry DeGaravilla in the first period.
At 145, the Wildcats' Derek Eckhart decisioned Matt Patterson, 5-2 after trailing 2-0 at the end of one session. Eckhart knotted the score on a reversal with one second left in the second period and then tacked on a three-point near fall with four seconds left in the third stanza. Eckhart was in the top position to start the third period.
Francis continues to impress DeRafelo.
"He (Francis) comes back week after week," DeRafelo said. "I don't know how he does it."
The Wildcats have closed the gap between themselves and traditional PAC-10 leaders Upper Perkiomen, Boyertown and Spring-Ford.
"This is a stepping stone," DeRafelo said. "Unfortunately, it came early in the year. We have shown we wrestle better at the end of the year. We are coming on. We did the best job we could."
Seislove, on the other hand, has seen better performances from his Rams.
"I am disappointed with the way we wrestled," Seislove said. "That was a very good team (Wildcats), and they have some outstanding individuals. We lost a couple matches in the third period.
"Tournament wrestling is totally different, but we had been wrestling well."
NOTES ... The Rams' Scott Kodish edged Jesse Tipton, 6-4, at 275 pounds for an early 15-0 lead. ... The Wildcats got on the board with Will Bentley's 7-4 verdict over Cory Sutton at 103, on a five-point flurry in the third period. ... S-F's John Martin (13-7) posted a 5-1 decision over Connor McCormick (14-7) at 119 pounds. ... The Wildcats won the final five matches, including decisions by Phil Rupert (152) and Ryan Menkins (171). ...Spring-Ford held a 20-10 advantage in takedowns with Moley notching nine of those.