After beating South Western earlier this week, Dallastown could have all but ended the championship race with a victory Thursday night over defending champion Spring Grove.
But the Rockets registered five falls in a 37-22 victory over the home-standing Wildcats, assuring the league race probably will last until Dallastown's Jan. 26 match against the Mustangs.
Rocket head coach Tony Miller said the victory was a complete program win.
"I'm so happy with our performance. We worked our butts off this week to get ready," he said. "We did what we wanted to do. ... The coaching staff did an outstanding job getting (the kids) ready.
"But hats off to Dallastown. They are tough especially in the middleweights."
It could have been pretty easy for the Wildcats to pack it in after the first four bouts, in which Spring Grove racked up four pins and a major decision to jump out to a 22-0 lead.
Mike Lentz got the Spring Grove crowd going with a second-period fall over Cody Lauer at 285 to open the match. Rocket freshman Levi Witmer, wrestling in his first varsity match, dominated Andrew Pierce, 10-0, in the 106-pound weight class.
"I thought (285) would be a tight bout because we had lost to (Lauer) last year. That was a big win for Mike. He really got us going," Miller said of his first-year starter.
Rocket veterans Zack Clingan and Derek Carlisle recorded falls in the next two bouts.
"When (Shields) weighed in at 113, we knew what was going to happen," Miller said. "I was very comfortable with Derek going out against Shields. He's wrestled a lot of matches for us."
Despite the loss, Dallastown head coach Matt Striebig said the move was the right one to make.
"I had my best lineup out there that gave us a chance to win," he said. "I knew the starting weight (at 285) was not a good starting point for us momentum-wise."
And momentum was tough to come by all evening long for Dallastown. Three times the Wildcats won back-to-back matches, threatening to put a run on the visitors, but each time a Rocket win stymied it, twice with pins that provided breathing room.
Decisions by Rodney Sunday (126) and Wes Hoover (132) put Dallastown on the board, but Mason Bentzel blew open a tight 138-pound bout with Isaiah Haugh with three sets of back points on tilts before cranking up a cradle for a pin with 26 seconds left in the bout.
"(Mason) knew he had to modify what he was doing. Sometimes you have go a different way. ... He knew he was going to get five points (for a technical fall) before he got the pin," Miller said of the tilts Bentzel unleashed in the final period.
Trailing 28-10, Dallastown got a major decision from Tanner Druck (145) and a regular decision from Luke Baldwin (152) to keep the home crowd in the match. And again a third period pin at 160, this one by junior Tyler Miller, kept the Wildcats from turning the match into a thriller.
Striebig said in those cases, the Rockets seized the opportunities presented to them.
"They were a little more aggressive when they got their chances for big points," said Striebig, whose squad actually won seven bouts but only one by fall. "They saw the openings and clamped us."
SPRING GROVE 37, DALLASTOWN 25
106 -- Levi Witmer, SG, maj. dec. Andrew Pierce, 10-0; 113 --Zack Clingan, SG, pinned James Striebig, 1:33; 120 -- Derek Carlisle, SG, pinned Nick Shields, 2:58; 126 -- Rodney Sunday, Dt, dec. Alec Zorbaugh, 11-5; 132 -- Wesley Hoover, Dt, dec. Dakota Laughman, 1-0; 138 --Mason Bentzel, SG, pinned Isaiah Haugh, 5:34; 145 --Tanner Druck, Dt, maj. dec. Seth Wolf, 15-2; 152 --Luke Baldwin, Dt, dec. Michael Hartman, 10-4; 160 --Tyler Miller, SG, pinned Bailey Druck, 5:03; 170 --Cooper Deller, Dt, pinned Austin Barley, 4:19; 182 --Brooks Morrison, Dt, dec. Jonathan Gross, 5-1; 195 -- Andy Melhorn, SG, dec. Zaire Lawrence, 7-4; 220 -- David Pelky, Dt, dec. Levi Luckabaugh, 4-2; 285 -- Michael Lentz, SG, pinned Cody Lauer, 2:42.