NEW PARIS - A capacity crowd of 818 jammed into Chestnut Ridge's tiny gymnasium well before the highly anticipated dual meet with rival Bedford. More fans got set to watch a closed-circuit TV from the auditorium.
The home team was coming off a surprising rout of Claysburg-Kimmel two days earlier, leaving some to think Thursday night's match would be close.
The Bisons, who have been through the wars, including the PIAA Team Duals, were far less worked up in the locker room than those in the gym.
Asked what his wrestlers were like before the match, Bedford coach Brian Creps smiled and said, "They weren't even thinking about wrestling. They were back there telling stories."
If they tell the story of Thursday's match in the future, it won't be dramatic. The Bisons, the top team in the Mirror rankings, recorded pins in four of the first six weights, jumped out to a 31-0 lead, finished with eight falls and pounded Ridge, 59-16, in one of the widest margins of victory in the history of the series.
"They're not intimidated," Creps said. "We will not be intimidated. An atmosphere like this is good for us. We like it.
"If our kids get them on their backs, they're going to pin them. After going through last year and getting some momentum at the state duals, the kids know it's important to get the fall. They do everything they can to do that."
For the young Lions (4-1), who have three freshmen in the lineup, this was not what they were expecting.
"I thought we had been wrestling better than that," Ridge coach Greg Lazor said. "I think we are better wrestlers than that. Tonight was obviously not our night. I think in two months we're going to come back and give them a lot better battle."
Perhaps they will at the District 5 Duals, but the Bisons (4-0) came in confident, and they set the tone in the first three weights, getting pins in all of them.
The 106-pound bout was scoreless in the second period, but Jake Warren hooked up a cradle on Sam Shank and pinned him in 3:24.
"106 was key. It started the momentum our way," Creps said. "I think we were the underdogs in that match. It just kind of snowballed from there."
Ryan Easter, the area's top 113-pounder, also used a cradle to pin Dustin Ickes in 17 seconds. The Lions used a lineup shift in the next eight weights. The Bisons shifted at only one weight.
Bedford's Garrett Thomas decked Derrick Claar in 1:54 at 120 to make the score 18-0.
The most entertaining bout of the night was at 126, Toby Brett jumped out to a 7-0 lead on freshman Trent Crouse. Crouse, however, reversed Brett to his back for five points and headlocked him for three more nearfall points and an 8-7 lead.
"It was sloppy for both kids," Creps said, "but we were lucky enough to come out on top."
"If we can put some excellent technique along with that heart, he's going to be a real tough character," Lazor said of Crouse.
Crouse reversed in the third to extend his lead, but Brett reversed him to his back for four points and an eventual 11-10 win. Crouse was close to a reversal at the end, but Brett fought him off.
After Caleb Grimes majored Zach Etterman, 9-0, at 132, Zach Dudek took a 4-3 lead over freshman Colby Hillegass into the third period. Dudek, however, cradled Hillegass and pinned him in 4:30.
"Dudek was sick at the King of the Mountain," Creps said, "and his weight is still real low. Eventually the third period, he was able to get the crossface cradle on him."
Ridge's Shane Pfaunmiller finally got the Lions on the scoreboard with an 11-2 major of Devin Clark at 145.
But, a Tanner Williams pin of Kyle Winegardner in 3:59 at 152, Josiah Koontz's 14-3 major decision of Bradie Bollman at 160 and Cody Yingling's pin of Kavan Holderbaum in 5:03 at 170 made the score 47-4.
Top-ranked Tyler Dibert stopped the Bisons' run with a pin of Dylan Evans in 2:59 at 182, but Mike Brett decked Luke Fochtman in 4:16 at 195, and top-ranked Jacob Krupa pinned Dan Albright in 5:17.
Ridge's Austin Buttry closed the meet with a pin of Justin Easter in 2:31.
"We're good, but I don't know how good we are yet," Creps said. "There's still a lot of wrestling to do."
106-Warren, B, pinned Shank, 3:24; 113-R. Easter, B, pinned Ickes, :17; 120-Thomas, B, pinned Claar, 1:54; 126-T. Brett, B, dec. Crouse, 11-10; 132-Grimes, B, maj. dec. Etterman, 9-0; 138-Dudek, B, pinned Hillegass, 4:30; 145-Pfaunmiller, CR, maj. dec. Clark, 11-2.
152-Williams, B, pinned Winegardner, 3:59; 160-Koontz, B, maj. dec. Bollman, 14-3; 170-Yingling, B, pinned Holderbaum, 5:03; 182-Dibert, CR, pinned Evans, 2:59; 195-M. Brett, B, pinned Fochtman, 4:16; 220-Krupa, B, pinned Albright, 5:17; 285-Buttry, CR, pinned J. Easter, 2:31.
Records: Bedford (4-0); Chestnut Ridge (4-1).
JV winners: Bedford-J. Martin (145); Chestnut Ridge: Ickes (106), College (195)