With only six of 14 matches actually being contested, Palmerton head coach Dave Lavin and Northwestern head coach Jim Moll were just hoping for some good signs from those that took the mat on Wednesday night in a Colonial League battle.
As it turned out, the Blue Bombers won four of the six matches that were wrestled and picked up five forfeit wins for a 51-21 triumph against the undermanned Tigers.
"It's a small group, but they're hard workers and a tough bunch of kids," Moll said.
Northwestern actually had a 21-15 lead but the Blue Bombers were awarded the forfeit wins at 220 (Kane Kralik), Skyler Rosenberry (285), Daniel Russo (106),, Josh Evans (113) and Sam Oberlander (120) before Dillon Masington made quick work pinning Dylan Faust in 46 seconds of the 126-pound bout to end it.
"Aside from the team score which had a lot of forfeits, I thought we did a pretty good job," said Lavin.
Zach Christman gave the Bombers an early 3-0 lead when he decisioned Cole Meyer 5-3. Christman scored a takedown in the first period, then added another in the second period after Moyer started on the bottom and escaped. Christman escaped in the third period to get the win.
"I didn't expect Moyer to wrestle Christman because he has been up at 145 and has done pretty well up there," Lavin noted. "When I saw he was down I was looking forward to that match and Zach did a good job. He's good at sticking to his offense and wrestle his match and that's what he did and got the early points."
Ethan Keichel, one of the Tigers' top wrestlers, held of Joey Bubble for a 7-4 decision at 138 to tie the team score up at 3-3. Keichel scored all seven of his points in the middle period with an escape, a takedown and four back points. Bubble had a reversal in the second and third periods.
"Bubble made one mistake and Keichel got a quick takedown and quick back points, but he learned that he could hang with him so it was a good experience for him and wasn't a bad loss," said Lavin.
Zach Graver jumped out to a 12-2 lead over Northwestern's Thad Vogels at 145 before pinning him in 1:46, but Mitchell Evans (152) and Michael Ortiz (160) picked up forfeit wins for the Tigers as they regained the team lead, 15-9.
"Graver looked excellent," said Lavin. "He's just getting better and better with every match and improving on the technique," Lavin said. "It's the little things, he's been hitting the move he's been using all year, but this time he put Vogels on his back every time and went for the pin."
Jake Christman tied things up for the Bombers at 15-15 when he pinned Alexander Russo in 1:14 getting a takedown and back points right away.
"Jake got a good win, going out there and didn't waste time," Lavin added.
Moll decided to move Levi Veppert up to 195 pounds leaving no bout at 182 and it paid off as he pinned Andrew Strauss in 3:11 for the final points for the Tigers on the evening.
Then after the run of forfeits, Masington got the quick six for the ender.
"When I tell Dillon to go out there and be physical and try to get a pin he does it every time," said Lavin.
"The lineup hasn't been where it has been for the last two matches, but we'll be back in order for our match with Liberty on Saturday and are looking forward to that. It's a good Triple A school with some notoriety and they have some guys ranked in the top three in the state so we'll see how we do."
The future looks bright for the Tigers, however, who have a good junior high program.
"Our youth coaches do a good job," Moll said. "They have a lot of numbers down K through sixth grade and our junior high program has about 25 seventh and eighth graders so our numbers will back up soon."
Palmerton 51, Northwestern 21
132 - Zach Christman (P) dec. Cole Moyer 5-3
138 - Ethan Keichel (NW) dec. Joey Bubble 7-4
145 - Zach Graver (P) pinned Thad Vogels in 1:46
152 - Mitchell Evans (NW) won by forfeit
160 - Michael Ortiz (NW) won by forfeit
170 - Jake Christman (P) pinned Alexander Russo in 1:14
182 - Double forfeit
195 - Levi Veppert (NW) pinned Andrew Strauss in 3:11
220 - Kane Kralik (P) won by forfeit
285 - Skyler Rodenberry (P) won by forfeit
106 - Daniel Russo (P) won by forfeit
113 - Josh Evans (P) won by forfeit
120 - Sam Oberlander (P) won by forfeit
126 - Dillon Masington (P) pinned Dylan Faust in :46