ORWIGSBURG - For the final five minutes of his Schuylkill League championship bout at 106 pounds, Tamaqua's Colin Mashack couldn't register a point.
That was no problem for the Raider sophomore, though, because after jumping out to comfortable lead against Caleb Bordner of Tri-Valley, he didn't allow any either.
Mashack used a pair of takedowns and a three near-fall points in the opening minute of his finals matchup to gain a 7-1 advantage, and from there he rode out his opponent the rest of the way to earn the only TIMES NEWS title Sunday at Blue Mountain.
"He's opportunistic," said Tamaqua head coach Jim McCabe. "The kid lost his balance in the beginning and he capitalized. He got five points right off the top.
"He worked the kid for three periods. He struggled with trying to get wrist control to get his tilt. For three periods he just continually worked for moves. The kid fought him. He wants to score as many points as possible."
Points came quickly for Mashack, whose opening takedown also got him backpoints and enabled him to take an early 5-0 lead. After Bordner escaped, the Raider took him down again for a six-point advantage.
As Mashack (25-1) continually tried to turn the Bulldog grappler for more near-fall points or a possible fall, Bordner diligently fought him off. But despite not being able to extend the margin, the Tamaqua champion dominated on top and made it nearly impossible for his opponent to muster any comeback.
"I snapped him down and I put on a reverse front headlock and I was able to catch him," said Mashack of his opening combination. "I thought I was going to be able to get a few tilts in there but I couldn't. I was trying to score points each time but I just couldn't get anything.
"I felt like I had the match but I knew I had to keep pushing. I was getting tired but I just fought through it."
After the first period ended 7-1, Bordner chose down to start the second period and Mashack rode him the full two minutes. With his choice to start the third, the Raider continued on top and kept Bordner down the entire frame.
"We didn't want to put him down on the bottom," said McCabe. "We didn't want to get him in a bad predicament. Sometimes it doesn't matter who you are, if your opponent catches a cradle or a tight move and it's done right it's hard to get out. So being up 7-1, why put him in a position where something could go wrong after he's dominated the match in the top position."
"I was doing pretty good on top and I knew if I went down there's always a chance I could get caught," said Mashack, who defeated Panther Valley's Len Ogozalek in the semifinals to reach the championship round.
Mashack's victory avenged a loss he suffered in last year's finals. As a freshman he dropped a decision to the Panthers' Nick O'Donnell and had to settle for second place.
Mashack wasn't the only Raider to make the finals. Teammate Brandon Silkowski, at 160 pounds, used a pin against Mahanoy Area's Jordan Renfrow in the semis earlier on Sunday to reach the title round.
Unfortunately for Silkowski (20-7), he ran into a buzzsaw in Tri-Valley's Sam Scheib.
The Bulldog wrestler, who entered the championship matchup with 125 career wins, captured a 2-0 lead a minute into the contest on a failed Silkowski shoot. Scheib gave up an escape but countered with another takedown and three near-fall points to go ahead 7-1.
Scheib quickly escaped to start the second period and pinned the Raider senior 24 seconds into that frame.
"Brandon lost in the semifinals last year in a tight one-point match so coming back into the semifinals this year he had another tough match," said McCabe. "It was a tight bout and he ended up capitalizing on a situation and pinning the kid in the semifinals to propel him into the finals.
"His goal was to get to the finals and he reached that. He was just up against someone who is very, very good."
The Raiders' 285-pounder, Luke Matsago, also ran into someone pretty good in the semis. Matsago dropped a 1-0 decision to Schuylkill Haven's Nate Kramer, the eventual champion at the weight class.
Matsago, however, battled back to take third place, defeating Jim Thorpe's Ryan Ruberto, 15-4.
Tamaqua also received a fourth place from Dylan Rynkiewicz at 132, and fifth-place finishes from Derek Hill (120), Nick Toth (138) and Evan Mashack (145).
"We came in here with nine wrestlers and six of them placed," said McCabe. "I can't complain about that. They wrestled consistently."
After losing in the semis, Panther Valley's Ogozalek earned a hard-fought 4-2 win over Blue Mountain's Christian Gosch to take third place. PV's Richard Nase, who dropped an 8-6 decision in his 182-pound semifinal match, also placed third by bouncing back with a 10-0 major against Upper Dauphin's Trey Campbell.
"We're coming," said Panther head coach Tim Robb. "We're really young but they're wrestling hard. It's good to come into something like this because our first two tournaments that we were in were a lot bigger than this. The kids had an opportunity to place and that gets them excited. I think they wrestled pretty well overall.
"To have two young kids, sophomores, get thirds is good. Having young kids do well just gives them something to strive for later on."
Panther Valley's Stephen Snyder, at 170 pounds, also earned a fourth place medal, as did Thorpe's Ruberto.