The way the headknocker between Bedford and Northern Bedford was playing out Saturday night, I thought I was going to see history made. Bedford's regular season winning streak was going to come to an end, on senior night, and at the hands of a rival no less.
When the Panthers were winning 24-9 with six bouts to go, that possibility was very real. Yeah, Caleb Grimes and Cory Thomas are probably going to get pins, but you figure it was going to have to take a win by Steve Geisler over Drew Gartland for the Bisons to pull off the dual-meet win.
When Gartland won, I figured Zach Maust would win by decision against a good wrestler in Daniel Brallier. Maust isn't a pinner, but when he did out of a funk roll, a defensive move that usually forces a stalemate to be called, the writing on the wall looks to be written in Bedford blue.
Sure enough, Trey Easter, who had to calm coach Brian Creps down before the Bison senior took the mat, pinned Ross Hershberger, and Bedford had the lead. All Doug Weyandt had to do was not get pinned by Matt Sollenberger. If that happened, the score would be tied, and NBC would win on criteria because it had more bout wins.
Weyandt lost, but he didn't get pinned, preserving a 33-30 win and giving the packed house memories they won't soon forget.
The meet was almost as good as the Bedford-Chestnut Ridge match two years ago, when then sophomore Cory Thomas gave the Bisons a 31-29 win with a pin in the final bout. It was almost as good as last year's Westmont Hilltop match at the PIAA Duals, when unheralded senior Sam Gardner fought off his back to avoid getting pinned by T.J. Keklak, preserving a 30-29 classic win.
It's matches like Saturday's clash between the two top teams in the Mirror coverage area, before a big and loud crowd, that make it so much fun to cover the sport. Not every dual meet is like that, and when one happens, you have to sit back and take it all in.
The Bisons and Panthers will bump heads again. They'll do it indirectly this weekend in the Thomas Automotive Family Tournament. The Panthers, third-ranked Huntingdon and others will try to stop Bedford's three-year run as team champion.
They'll likely face off directly later in the District 5 Duals at Bedford. The lineups will probably change as Creps and Northern Bedford coach Jan Clark try to get the upperhand somehow.
"They have a real nice team," Creps said. "They're well-coached by Coach Clark, and a lot of things can change in two weeks."
Rod Hoover, who coached at Northern Bedford for 29 years and amassed 262-160 record, was recognized with a plaque before the Panthers' 63-3 win over Central last Tuesday. The plaque will be hung in the NBC wrestling room.
Hoover, from Martinsburg, was inducted into the Bedford County Sports Hall of Fame last year.
New look at PSU
In addition to Cael Sanderson, there's a new look to Penn State matches this year. The teams are sitting off to the side now so fans' views aren't obstructed. Donors to the program are sitting two rows deep, with the second row being elevated, where the visiting team's bench was. There are also one-minute timeouts before each bout, and there's a longer break halfway through the meet.
I liked it the way it was.
Todd Irwin can be reached at 946-7464 or at firstname.lastname@example.org