MORRISDALE - With West Branch holding a three-point lead over Moshannon Valley after the first seven weights, it appeared the Black Knights could make a run at an upset.
The Knights, who had to forfeit two weights, had started well with pins by James Stodart and Jake Ludwig at 220 and 285, respectively, and they kept their losses to decisions in the front half of the meet.
But the second-seeded Warriors provided themselves with a cushion with pins at 138 and 145, respectively, to extend their lead and ultimately beat the seventh-seeded Knights, 39-29, in a first-round District 6 Duals match Tuesday night.
It was the second time the Warriors beat their Clearfield County rivals. The first time, on Dec. 20, West Branch won, 45-27.
"I think our guys came out ready to wrestle," Mo Valley coach Justin Fye said. "We were in a lot better shape this time than we were last time, and guys wrestled for the team the whole time."
Stodart, the Mirror's top-ranked 195-pounder, ran his record to 29-0 by moving up to 220 and pinning Buzzy Maines with a low-leg cradle with 3 seconds left in the first period.
Ludwig (21-1) then moved up to 285, where he put promising sophomore Morgan Selepack on his back out of a scramble and pinned him with 5 seconds left in the first period.
"This was a big match for Jake." Fye said. "He stayed in good position , and he attacked him."
Mo Valley's Bill Bryan held a 3-2 lead on Wyatt Sankey in the second period, but Sankey took him down and added a reversal in the third to win, 6-4.
After WB's Dustin Deliman won by forfeit at 113, Bainey shifted his lineup up. The Knights foiled part of the move at 120, where Bryce Bloom broke a scoreless tie with Abe Albright by escaping with 22 seconds left to win, 1-0.
"He has been wrestling really tough," Fye said of Bloom. "He works hard, and it's starting to pay off."
WB's Dustin Fisch took Andrew Ohler down to his back for five points in the third to take a 9-0 lead. Ohler avoided the major with a reversal with 2 seconds left, losing 9-2.
Fye shifted Dylan Fudalski and Sam Ohler up to 138 and 145, respectively, and forfeited to Parker Bumbarger. J.P. Hayles led Fudalski, 10-0, when he put the Knight sophomore on his back and pinned him with 21 seconds left in the bout.
"J.P. was a little slow tonight," West Branch coach Jason Bainey said. "I expect more out of J.P., and I've been on him, and got us a fall we needed."
After a scoreless first period, West Branch's Luke Slippey reversed Sam Ohler to his back and pinned him in 2:45, giving the Warriors (23-3) a 30-15 lead.
An 8-4 Ethan Slippey win over Tanner Dipko at 152 and a Lucas Kristofits pin of Kameron Swoope at 160 made the score 39-15 and salted the win away for WB.
"We went on a steamroll," said Bainey, whose team will wrestle the winner of tonight's Blairsville-Juniata match at 5 p.m. Saturday at Tyrone in the district semifinals.
"We have a nice, balanced team. We knew we were balanced in the light weights, and they were favored in the heavy weights. We had to make hay, and we did."
The Knights (19-10) won the last three, starting with Tyler Martin majoring Ryan Miles, 15-5, in a 170-pound bout filled with blood timeouts and continuing with Kent Stewart majoring Robert Pearce, 12-3, at 182. Stewart was filling in for injured unbeaten and third-ranked Logan Cook (ankle).
Dylan Ludwig (15-0) closed the meet by pinning Trey English in 1:07.
"We have not had our full lineup at all this year," Fye said. "To come out and lose by 10, it was a lot closer than the score indicated. The guys that were here wrestled their hearts out."
220-Stodart, MV, pinned Maines, 1:57; 285-J. Ludwig, MV, pinned Selepack, 1:55; 106-Sankey, WB, dec. Bryan, 6-4; 113-Deliman, WB, won by forfeit; 120-Bloom, MV, dec. Albright, 1-0; 126-Fisch, WB, dec. A. Ohler, 9-2; 132-Bumbarger, WB, won by forfeit.
138-Hayles, WB, pinned Fudalski, 5:39; 145-L. Slippey, WB, pinned S. Ohler, 2:45; 152-E. Slippey, WB, dec. Dipko, 8-4; 160-Kristofits, WB, pinned Swoope, 1:48; 170-Martin, MV, maj. dec. Miles, 15-5; 182-Stewart, MV, maj. dec. Pearce, 12-3; 195-D. Ludwig, MV, pinned English, 1:07.
Records: Moshannon Valley (19-10); West Branch (23-3).