EBENSBURG - Like the snow that was piling up outside Central Cambria High School, Richland piled up 30-point lead on the Red Devils after the first six weights.
The Devils made a run in the final eight weights, but it wasn't enough.
Central Cambria went 6-2 down the stretch, giving up a forfeit and a key pin by the Rams' Marcus McKool at 126 pounds, but Richland's early wrestling carried it to a 42-28 win Thursday night.
"One of these days we're going to match up against Richland," CC coach Bob Nikolishen said. "It was kind of neat at the end. We were sitting on single digits for a long time, and then boom, it trickled up there real quick.
"We're used to climbing out from the depths, but I wouldn't want to climb out with anybody else except these guys."
The dual meet opened with Richland's Nico Pecora moving up from 160 and scoring five points in the third period to beat Cody Slebodnick, 5-0, at 170. Mike Merriman followed with a pin of Calvin Crow in 1:30 at 182.
At 195, Killian Snopko took Brodi Snyder down three times to earn a 7-2 decision. Two-time state champion John Rizzo built a 7-1 lead on Luke Zearing before pinning him with a second left in the first period.
In a key bout at 285, Richland's Matt Moose built a 4-0 lead, but Evan Sokira, who upset Penn Cambria's Seth McLendon Tuesday, worked his way back to within one, 5-4. Moose was winning 6-4 in the third when he slipped in a half nelson and pinned Sokira in 4:55.
"It was kind of surprising," Nikolishen said. "Evan made the decision to go down, and he left himself in a little bit of a vulnerable position that Mr. Moose took advantage of."
Adam George's forfeit win at 106 gave the Rams (5-3) a 30-0 lead, but CC 113-pounder Brad Taylor got the Devils (4-10) on the board by building an 8-0 first-period lead en route to a 10-2 major decision.
The 120-pound bout between CC's Cameron Long and Richland's Justin Cinko was a wild one. Long led 7-6 after the first period and 13-7 after two periods, but the dangerous Cinko came back to within two, 13-11. But Long pulled away with a penalty point for an illegal hold and a reversal. Long was called for his second interlocking, but he won, 16-12.
McKool and Coltin Makin were tied, 2-2, going into the second period, but McKool reversed Makin to his back and pinned him in 2:24, making the score 36-7.
"That kind of turned things for us," Richland coach Tom Smith said. "Markus has been a kid who has been up and down all year, and he's starting to hit his stride. That was a big win for us."
Ben Rager (18-0) found the going a little more difficult than some would have predicted against fellow Young Guns wrestler Nick Naglic, a sophomore who was 10-4 coming in. Rager earned a 7-3 decision, getting a first-period takedown, second-period reversal and three-point nearfall.
"I always compare it to a racecar driver," Nikolishen said. "He might have felt his transmission wasn't shifting correctly. He might have felt his clutch was burning up. When all the pistons aren't moving at the same rate, he looks like he's beatable. He's not beatable, I would say. He's just extremely cautious."
"Benny Rager is about as good as they get," Smith said. "This was a good opportunity for Nick Naglic to showcase his skills, and he did that tonight."
CC 138-pounder Cordale Kline, who was 1-4 coming in, built a 9-2 lead on John Li before putting the Ram on his back and pinning him in 2:52.
"Cordale is stepping up to the plate," Nikolishen said. "His toolbox is full of equipment that is going to make him a very good wrestler down the road.
After Richland's Dan DeVan won by forfeit at 145, Tanner Bilonick trailed Mario Rizzo, 3-1, at 152 when he took Rizzo down to his back and pinned him in 4:48. Tony Risaliti (17-1) picked up a forfeit at 160 end the match.
Both teams will get ready for the two-day Richland Duals, which starts today.
170-Pecora, R, dec. Slebodnick, 5-0; 182-Merriman, R, pinned Crow, 1:30; 195-Snopko, R, dec. Snyder, 7-2; 220-J. Rizzo, R, pinned Zearing, 1:59; 285-Moose, R, pinned Sokira, 4:55; 106-George, R, won by forfeit; 113-Taylor, R, maj. dec. Rouser, 10-2.
120-Long, CC, dec. Cinko, 16-12; 126-McKool, R, pinned Makin, 2:24; 132-Rager, CC, dec. Naglic, 7-3; 138-Kline, CC, pinned Li, 2:52; 145-DeVan, R, won by forfeit; 152-Bilonick, CC, pinned M. Rizzo, 4:48; 160-Risaliti, CC, won by forfeit.
Records: Richland (5-3); Central Cambria (4-10).