POTTSTOWN -- It was the second time, in little more than a week, Boyertown and Owen J. Roberts squared off on the wrestling mat.
There were a few differences in matchups from their Jan. 18 clash in Bucktown -- one that went the Bears' way by a 50-23 count -- and Thursday's rematch at Pottstown High. But the end result, a 47-23 Boyertown victory in the opening round of the District 1-AAA Duals, came close to duplicating the first go-round.
Their heftier roster numbers served the Bears (16-5 overall) well as they bolted to a 35-10 lead through the first nine bouts. The Wildcats (3-3), even more undermanned from the previous meeting, managed one solid run in the middle weights before Mike Schwager and Jesse DeWan provided the finishing touch with pins at 160 and 171, respectively.
"When you wrestle each other as much as we have," Boyertown head coach Pete Ventresca said afterward, "you get a good feel for what they have. They (OJR) are dangerous ..well-coached, and their kids are aggressive."
The first six bouts (215, heavyweight, 103-125) paired the same wrestlers as before; that span saw the Bears take the same four weights this time around. Josh White (215), Fred Rodgers (112) and Nick Hyatt (119) all scored pins alongside heavyweight Mike Holloway's 10-6 decision of Jesse Tipton, with Will Bentley (major decision at 103) and Jeremy Stierly (pin at 125) scoring for OJR.
The next three weights went in favor of Boyertown, which returned Jamie Soupik (135) and Brian Rakowski (140) for wins against the Wildcats' upward shift.
Soupik posted a third-period technical fall on Andy Strubilla, and Rakowski worked out a 7-5 decision of Nick Fuschino for a 25-point lead.
That was after Todd Spielman, back from an injury, cradled Josh Rice for a first-period pin at 130. Spielman spotted Rice a takedown and two back points at the start, then got the reverse and pinning combination.
"I was glad to see he went out as well as he did," Ventresca said of Spielman.
The `Cats, who had starters Rodney Francis and Ryan Menkins remain out of action, strung together wins from 145 to 160 with a trio of shifted wrestlers. Derek Eckhart scored a major decision on Jake Malfaro, Nate Derix followed with a third-period fall on Forrest Hendricks, and Rob Hoffman outlasted David Jones, 7-6.
"We were happy with Eckhart, because he was bumped up (from 140)," Roberts head coach Steve DeRafelo recalled. "Bentley wrestled a good match, and Nate Derix ... I think that was his second varsity win.
"We moved guys around, and the kids responded."
In the other upperweight rematches, Schwager and DeWan posted first-period pins to wrap up a victory that sends Boyertown into the second round against seventh-seeded Council Rock North, a 31-28 winner over Neshaminy. "We've been through several duals before," Ventresca said. "It's a neat thing - good matchups, and four different matches at one time."
For Owen J, the focus is on stabilizing its lineup for the run through the rest of the season.
"It's kind of tough," DeRafelo said. "We have a few kids, but they're all around the same weights. We have four kids weighing in at one weight. This was our first time in this (district duals). It was fun to wrestle in it."