Joseph Bubble knows the feeling of having his team's match riding on his bout. It happened earlier this season and he won to help beat Catasauqua.
But this time there was even more pressure. Bubble and his teammates knew that beating Northwestern would almost secure the team's first ever berth into district duals.
With his team trailing 31-29, and two bouts to go, Bubble (135) didn't just win his match, he pinned his opponent, Northwestern senior Dustin Badesso, in the third period as Palmerton went on to win 38-31.
"My coach told me that if I win we win the match," he said. "It felt so amazing. This is a big win for us. We're having a really good season."
Cody Groholtoski finished off the Blue Bomber victory by earning a decision over the Tigers Michael Hontz at 140.
Palmerton won eight of 13 contested matches and earned bonus points in six of them.
"We've got a young team and this was an example of us wrestling as a team," said second-year Palmerton head coach David Lavin. "I told them that on paper, with the match ups, it was tied. We lost some of the match ups that we expected to win and other guys stepped up where they needed to and not only did they win, but they won with bonus points."
One of those wins came two bouts before Bubble's. At 125, Sam Oberlander, who is ranked No. 2 in the TIMES NEWS area at 130, came to the mat with his team down 25-23 and in position to take its first lead since the opening bout.
Oberlander and the Tigers' Ethan Keichel were battling through a close match with Oberlander ahead 6-4 in the second period before he put Keichel on his back.
Oberlander remembered last year's dual meet when Keichel beat him 10-3. He was determined not to let it happen again.
"He was on his back for a split second and I got the pin," said Oberlander. "I knew if I could win our team would be in pretty good shape to win the whole match. Last year he beat me, but this time I got the better of him."
Lavin has confidence in his team, but he said the pins by Oberlander and Bubble were a pleasant surprise.
"One thing I've learned about this team is they never give up," he said.
The match started with three straight technical falls. First the Bombers Travis Wolfe (145) beat Mitchell Evans to put his team ahead. Northwestern's Bobby Clymer beat Cody Silfies at 152 to start a string of four straight wins for Northwestern.
The Tigers' Kyle Sorensen won by technical fall at 160 over Jake Christman. Northwestern's Levi Veppert got the first pin of the night, showing Andrew Strauss the lights in just 36 seconds. Teammate LJ Walker won a 5-1 decision at 189 to put the Tigers on top 19-5.
Kane Kralick (215) kept the Bombers close by pinning David Tirpak in 1:33. Alec Eidelman (285) battled Skyler Rosenberry for two full periods before getting the mat slap right at the second-period buzzer to pull his team out ot a 25-11 lead.
The Bombers came blazing back. Freshman Josh Evans earned a 58-second pin over Brandon Lutton. Palmerton's Dillon Massington (112) followed that by pinning David Grace in 1:02 to make the team score 25-23 in favor of Northwestern. After Oberlander's pin put his team ahead, Northwestern's Michael Ortiz pinned Jon Christman in 1:23 to give the Tigers a two-point lead before the Bombers won the final two bouts.
"We can't give up five falls and expect to win matches," said Northwestern head coach Jim Moll. "Their team just out-wrestled us up and down the line up. I knew we were going to have a tough match ahead of us. I would have liked to see a better effort out of our guys. More than the win, I'd just like to have seen a better effort."
Palmerton 38, Northwestern 31
145 – Travis Wolfe (P) tech. fall Mitchell Evans, 2:27 (17-0).
152 – Bobby Clymer (N) tech. fall Cody Silfies, 2:12 (17-3).
160 – Kyle Sorensen (N) tech. fall Jake Christman, 2:00 (16-0).
171 – Levi Veppert (N) pin Andrew Strauss, 1:24.
189 – Jarrett Kleintop (P) dec. LJ Walker, 5-1.
215 – Kane Kralik (P) pin David Tirpak, 1:33.
285 – Alec Eidelman (N) pin Skyler Rosenberry,4:00.
103 – Josh Evans (P) pin Brandon Lutton, :58.
112 – Double FFT
119 – Dillon Massington (P) pin David Grace, 1:02.
125 – Sam Oberlander (P) pin Ethan Keichel, 3:59.
130 – Michael Ortiz (N) pin Jon Christman, 1:23.
135 – Joseph Bubble (P) pin Dylan Badesso, 4:40.
140 – Cody Grohotolski (P) dec. Michael Hontz, 12-5.