JERSEY SHORE - Fresh off a victory over Mifflinburg Tuesday night, the Jersey Shore Bulldog wrestling squad opened its home portion of the schedule two nights later and held off the Shikellamy Braves for a 34-33 win.
"These kids just battled and never gave up," said a happy Shore head coach Shawn Weaver. "I just told them that we wrestled about as poorly as we have this year, whether in the room or in a match. But the important thing is that we battled. When you can battle with a lot of heart you can make things happen. It was kind of like the old baseball adage that you have to do enough to keep the lead, and once we had the lead and gave it up, we had enough to get it back. I am just really proud of the guys for never giving up."
The Braves and Bulldogs have waged many wars over the years, and Thursday night's battle was no different as the meet went down to the final two bouts.
"It is always exciting when we wrestle those guys," Weaver said. "To finish up a tough week from our league standpoint with a pair of wins is pretty exciting."
Starting at 120, Shore won four of the first six bouts for a 21-9 lead. Colton Killion (126) with a fall in 2:56 over Tyler Hepler and Haydn Swartwood won by fall in just 39 seconds over Cylas Betz.
Following a loss at 138, Shore bounced back to win the next two bouts for the lead when Austin White came up with the winning reversal in the final seconds for a 6-5 win over Anthony Best and Zak Herman capped the uprising with a pin in 1:14 over Quaneer Ford.
At that point, Shore held its 21-9 lead, but the Braves were about to go on the warpath to win the next five bouts for a 33-21 lead with three bouts remaining.
Nate Caputo stopped the bleeding for the Bulldogs when he bumped up to 285 and picked up the quick fall in just 25 seconds over Jeremy Bacon to turn the lineup over to 106.
The Shik lead stood at 33-27, and with two bouts remaining, Shore needed a pair of wins with one being of the bonus variety. That is what the Bulldogs got, but it wasn't easy.
At 106, Shore veteran Noah Ulmer kept the Shore hopes for a victory alive when he picked up a third-period takedown for an 8-6 win over a scrappy Nick Gittens. With the Ulmer victory, it left it all up to Alan Saar, and although it wasn't pretty at the end, the Bulldog freshman held on for a 13-5 major decision and the four points to push Shore over the top.
In the final bout, Saar was all over Dylan Kremer for the first four minutes as he scored five points in the first period before adding seven more in the second for a seemingly comfortable 12-0 lead heading home.
Saar escaped to begin the third for a 13-0 lead, but Kremer made things interesting as he countered a Saar takedown shot for a five-point move. Saar fought for his life down the stretch to avoid the fall and preserve the major decision.
"I am just really proud of a freshman (Saar) going out there in a real tough situation and come through like he did," said Weaver. "To run the score up like he did and then have to go from one emotion to the next when he had to fight off his back, I can't say enough about the effort he gave us there at the end."
To get the win in the fashion the Bulldogs did was something, but to do it with as many as three or four starters out of the lineup made it just a little more special.
With some time off now, Weaver is hoping that he can get some of the walking wounded back healthy before heading into the meat of the schedule following the Christmas holidays.
"I think with us being in two tough tournaments early, you expect to get some guys banged up with bumps and bruises," said Weaver. "You just hope that some of those injuries aren't as serious as some of ours happen to be. The two weeks is definitely going to help us to get healed up a little bit and refocus for the rest of the season. We have a long way to go from a wrestling standpoint, but these boys have heart and that is about all I can say. They love the sport, they love competition and they love to battle and we can always work with that."
120 -- Dylan Houseknecht S, pinned Coy Killion, 5:50. (0-6); 126 -- Colton Killion, JS, pinned Tyler Hepler, 2:56. (6-6).; 132 -- Haydn Swartwood, JS, pinned Cylas Betz, :39. (12-6); 138 -- Nicholas Cashdollar, S, dec. Josh Lorson, 10-5. (12-9); 145 -- Austin White, JS, dec. Anthony Best, 6-5. (15-9); 152 -- Zak Herman, JS, pinned Quaneer Ford, 1:14. (21-9); 160 -- John Rohrbach, S, pinned Curtis Welch, 3:59. (21-15); 170 -- Darryl Englehardt, S, dec. Utoa Agae-Naipo, 8-7. (21-18); 182 -- Jesse Shambach, S, pinned Justin Braunstein, :57. (21-24); 195 -- Dwayne Pepper, S, pinned Logan English, :53. (21-30); 220 -- Dan Karpinski, S, dec. Jacob Huling, 3-2. (21-33); 285 -- Nate Caputo, JS, pinned Jeremy Bacon, :25. (27-33); 106 -- Noah Ulmer, JS, dec. Nick Gittens, 8-6. (30-33); 112 -- Alan Saar, JS, maj. Dec. Dylan Kremer, 13-5. (34-33)