On Senior Night at Panther Valley, the Panthers used their depth to secure a win over Schuylkill League rival Tamaqua, 54-22.
The Panthers (12-7) won the first five bouts of the evening, three by forfeit, and never faced a serious challenge en route to the victory.
All three of Panther Valley's seniors were victorious, as Rich Smith, Elijah Hibbler and Jared Eickhoff picked up wins.
The most tightly contested match of the night came at 285 pounds, where Panther Valley's Rian Shubeck (31-2) earned a 5-3 decision victory over Tamaqua's Luke Matsago (18-11.) The contest was a rematch of their final in the Schuylkill League Tournament that Shubeck won, 2-1.
Shubeck held a slim, 3-2 lead in the third period until Matsago earned a point for an escape to even the score at 3-3. Shubeck scored a takedown with :40 left to gain a 5-3 advantage, which proved to be all he needed for the win.
Panther Valley coach Tim Robb felt that Shubeck's approach was better the second time around against Matsago.
"He stayed offensive the whole time and that was good," Robb said. "We said let him (Matsago) make the mistake and Rian stayed offensive and got the takedown.
"Rian had two takedowns tonight and that's what we said. We wanted to force that action a little bit tonight."
That aggressive approach was prevalent throughout the Panthers lineup, and it's something Robb feels comes as a result of hard work in practice.
"My kids are working real hard and we like to show it," Robb said. "That's what match night's for.
"And we have great crowds showing up. You go to other gyms and they're not getting the crowds we're getting, so it's nice."
Robb is hoping that community support will continue as Panther Valley moves closer to the postseason.
"We're getting ready for districts and we have one more (match) to go," said Robb. "It was great to do well for our seniors and it was our last home match of the year so we're looking forward to districts."
A silver-lining for the Raiders in the contest was the return of state-qualifer Colin Mashack, who had not wrestled since January 3rd due to illness and injuries. Mashack picked up right where he left off by earning a victory over Panther Valley's Darren Goida at 113 pounds.
Dylan Rynkiewicz, Ty Hinkle and Kyle Oliphant also picked up victories for the Raiders.
Tamaqua coach Jon Mashack was pleased with the effort of some wrestlers, but knows there's still work to do before the end of the season.
"Some of our younger guys stepped up and wrestled better even though they lost," Mashack said. "I see some better things."
Mashack feels his team's lack of depth could be further compromised due to an absence of commitment from some members of the team.
"One of the issues we have is discipline and guys not showing up to practice regularly," Mashack said. "We do have rules and unfortunately they don't follow the rules as well as they should and if I start throwing guys off we'll be down even more.
"You can watch the matches and see which guys are showing up by who has the endurance for the third period and who doesn't."
Still, Mashack knows his team has a young core that can get better with more offseason work together.
"We're very young so it's going to be a learning curve for them," Mashack said. "We have some work to do, but we're willing to do it."
Panther Valley 54, Tamaqua 22
106 - Len Ogozalek (PV) won by forfeit
113 - Colin Mashack (T) won by technical fall over Darren Goida, 16-0 (2:15)
120 - Ty Hinkle (T) pinned Mike Lazar in 3:51
126 - Seth Oriel (PV) pinned Steven Matukonis in 3:10
132 - Dylan Rynkiewicz (T) won by technical fall over Hunter Davidyock, 17-0 (4:20)
138 - Zachary Glassic (PV) pinned Hunter Matalavage in :11
145 - Elijah Hibbler (PV) pinned Dustin Silkowski in :33
152 - Jared Eickhoff (PV) pinned Malik Roper in 1:12
160 - Matt Buss (PV) dec. Adam Toth, 6-4
170 - Kyle Oliphant (T) pinned Stephen Terry in 1:17
* 182 - Dylan Moyer (PV) pinned Nolan Zeigler in 1:27
195 - Richard Nase (PV) won by forfeit
220 - Rich Smith (PV) won by forfeit
285 - Rian Shubeck (PV) dec. Luke Matsago, 5-3
* - Match started at 182 pounds.