On a veteran, senior-laden squad , a pair of freshmen led Conestoga Valley to the promised land.
Lightweights Trenton Ruble and Keaton Fischer were anything but Wednesday night in Millersville, scoring falls in the final two bouts of the night to lead the Buckskins (6-0 L-L Section One, 11-2 overall) to a 40-31 victory over Penn Manor.
The victory clinches no worse than a tie for first place in the section for the Bucks, with one match to go and — for the moment — drops the Comets (5-1, 13-3) out of first place.
In a match that, as Bucks coach Trent Turner observed, ebbed and flowed, the Bucks fell behind 31-16 with four bouts to go when Penn Manor’s T.J. Keener capped a three fall run for the hosts; Kole Marley (170), Nick Baker (182) and Keener (195) collecting those falls.
Penn Manor forfeited at 220 and 285, tightening the score and sending the match to the wire.
“Absolutely we were concerned,” Turner said. “We didn’t want to see ourselves in that hole.”
“We saw the match getting close, we knew we were going to have to pull off something good,” Fischer said.
“We’re the last two,” Ruble added. “We needed to step up and get the points for our team.”
Ruble (12-8) broke open a scoreless match at 106 with senior Caleb Banzhoff (12-6) rolling him into a guillotine, then changing off to a half for the fall at 3:42.
“I was thinking I had to get the pin,” said Ruble.
That gave the Bucks the lead for good and, at 113, Fischer (15-6) segued a double armbar to a bar-and-half to finish Matt Rafter (6-11) in 1:59.
“It was neat to see the young kids, two freshmen, step up in pressure situations,” said Turner.
“They’re confident in what they do, wrestled to their strengths and used them to their advantage.”
The match went back-and-forth at the start as the Comets picked up a major decision from Tanner Stefanick at 120 and Owen Rohrer’s win at 132.
CV answered with a win at 126 from Cameron Kistler — who opened a 5-0 lead after a period, then held on to win 6-4 — and Austin Rider’s major at 138
David Dariychuk’s fall at 145 briefly gave the Bucks the advantage, answered by Colt Barley’s fall at 152.
CV’s Taylor Sheaffer (14-8) and Cole Shenk (9-11) went to sudden victory, and beyond, tied at 1-1 at 160.
In the first 30-second tie break Sheaffer reversed Shenk to his back with two seconds showing to take a 5-1 lead, then rode Shenk out to claim victory.
That left the Bucks holding a 16-13 lead. It would be a while until they scored again.
“It’s tough, that one’s going to sting,” Comets coach Brandon Vernalli offered, adding, “you can’t dwell on it.”
In another L-L match with title implications:
Northern Lebanon 40, Octorara 25
The Vikings took a giant step towards their seventh-straight L-L Section Three title, taking the measure of the Braves, Wednesday night in Atglen.
Northern Lebanon (5-0. 8-0) took command, winning five of six from 152 through 220.
Braeden Amole (17-3) and Michael Trainor (19-5) gave the hosts an early, 8-0 lead with Amole’s tech fall over Cooper Gill (15-7) at 138 and Trainor’s 6-3 nod over Kai Whitmen (11-12).
Then Ethan Herb (170), Chase Bressler (182) and Nick Goodyear (220) scored falls, Ethan Walmer (160) had a major decision and Nick Winters posted a win at 152.
Jacob Eckman’s tech fall at 195 interrupted the run and Paul Orner’s fall at 285 pulled the Braves (4-1, 10-6) to within six at 25-19.
Decisions from Owen Breidegan (106) and Kayden Clark (113) and Brandon Breidegan’s fall at 120 stretched the lead back to 18 points, clinching the victory.
In a marquee matchup, the Vikings’ Colin Leonard (20-5) scored a 7-3 victory over Seth Hoopes (17-4) at 126
Octorara’s Tyler Thompson (1-1) got his first win of the year, pinning Seth Fischer (11-5) at 132 to close out the night.