With the return of Kory Lopata from an injury, Panther Valley can now put a full line-up out on the wrestling mat.
That was the difference in the Panthers' 42-30 non-league victory over undermanned Tamaqua at the Panther Valley High School gym Tuesday night.
The Blue Raiders, who had been forfeiting two weight classes at 103 and 119, were also without 145 pounder Matt Edmonds (9-3), who is out with an injury.
Surrendering 18 points was just too much to overcome, although the Raiders (1-6) made a good run at it, maximizing their bonus points in their five wins, all of which came by fall.
The three forfeits gave the Panthers (4-4) the cushion they needed to go with six contested bout wins.
The Panthers have had to deal with their own share of injuries, illness and ineligibilities. Lopata's return paid immediate dividends.
With the match starting at 125, Lopata outdueled Kyle Boyer (9-9), scoring the deciding takedown with 1:23 left to pull out a wild 13-11 decision to give PV a 3-0 lead.
"Kory's not really in wrestling shape yet, but he's been cleared to wrestle, and we wanted to get him out there," said Panther coach Tim Robb.
The Raiders answered with three straight pins to surge to an 18-3 advantage.
Brandan Silkowski (12-6) put away Jared Eickhoff with a reverse half-nelson at 130, and the Mashack brothers showed their opponents the lights as well, with Evan (7-8) cradling Gage Rohlfing at 135 and Kolby (10-1) sticking Devon Dillard at 140.
The Panthers then reeled off four straight wins, including a forfeit at 145, to regain a 21-18 edge.
Justin Christman (5-5) rallied from a 4-1 deficit after two periods against Josh Turner (5-9), using a third period takedown and three backpoints to pull out a key 8-5 win at 152.
"Justin is on the cross country team and with his stamina, he's strong late in matches, but he's still working on technique," observed Robb. "This win should give him some more confidence."
Kevin Schaller (10-3) racked up an 11-3 major over Travis Veronsky (10-7) at 160 and Mike Weaver (7-5) took down Robert Craigle five times en route to a 20-3 technical fall at 171.
The Raiders sandwiched mat slaps by Dustin Wentz (11-5) and undefeated Garth Lakitsky (who moved to 14-0 by cradling John Scheaffer (8-6) in 55 seconds) around an 11-5 decision by PV's Keith Cheadle over Erik Krause at 215 to regain a 30-24 edge, but it was their last gasp.
With two forfeits waiting in the final three bouts, the Panthers had clinched the win, but Ty Heffelfinger (4-4) put the capper on it with a headlock on Roger Taras at 112 for PV's lone fall of the match.
"We're a little shorthanded right now, but we are going after people the best we can," said Tamaqua coach Jim McCabe. "We have some places where we're inexperienced, but that's where the competition we've been wrestling comes into play. We're just looking to improve day by day."
Tamaqua hosts North Schuylkill this evening and will compete at the Hamburg Duals Saturday, while the Panthers will host the Anthracite Duals on Saturday.
Panther Valley 42, Tamaqua 30
125 - Kory Lopata (PV) dec. Kyle Boyer 13-11.
130 - Brandan Silkowski (T) pin Jared Eickhoff, :58.
135 - Evan Mashack (T) pin Gage Rohlfing, 1:39.
140 - Kolby Mashack (T) pin Devon Dillard, 3:27.
145 - Mike Snyder (PV) won by forfeit.
152 - Justin Christman (PV) dec. Josh Turner 8-5.
160 - Kevin Schaller (PV) major dec. Travis Veronsky 11-3.
171 - Mike Weaver (PV) tech. fall Robert Craigle, 3:07 (20-3).
189 - Dustin Wentz (T) pin Alex Lorkowski, 3:48.
215 - Keith Cheadle (PV) dec. Erik Krause 11-5.
285 - Garth Lakitsky (T) pin John Scheaffer, :53.
103 - Nick O'Donnell (PV) won by forfeit.
112 - Ty Heffelfinger (PV) pin Roger Taras, 1:15.
119 - Brandon Gurka (PV) won by forfeit.