The Warriors, however, lost 38-24 to Northern York in Dillsburg without senior Chase Balderas, whom Smith hoped would return Thursday from a shoulder injury.
"People would look at the score, 14 points, and they'd say, 'Well, one guy wouldn't have made the difference,'" Smith said. "But he would've made a big difference. Their kid, we felt like Balderas would've pinned him. That's a 12-point swing right there."
The Warriors (12-7, 1-3 Mid-Penn Colonial) missed a few opportunities throughout the match. Heavyweight Josh Havens lost a 3-2 decision to Northern's Heath Rupp, 120-pounder Jake Miller was beaten 3-1, and Jordan Stouch fell 5-2 at 152.
Monday's match opened with Josh Boehner winning the 132-pound bout in an 11-6 decision that gave the Warriors a 3-0 lead. Northern (9-2, 3-1) scored the next 13 points and never trailed again.Part of that spurt was Isaiah Loucke's pin of Kevin Fortney, Balderas' fill-in, in 1 minute, 46 seconds in the 145-pound bout. Stouch then lost at 152.
"We were surprised to see he weighed in that low," Northern coach Mark Murphy said. "We had our lineup set at the '52 regardless of who was there. That didn't change our game plan. We had confidence in Zach."
Gettysburg's Darren Hartzell pinned Austin Egolf, who was wrestling his first varsity match, to bring the Warriors' deficit to 13-9 after the 160-pound match. The Polar Bears, however, pushed their lead to 27-9 over the next three bouts.
Lane Sherman produced Monday's highlight for Gettysburg with his technical fall win against Jason Barbaretta. The final two points of his 15-0 win came with just 32 seconds left in the bout.
"I thought Lane Sherman's match might have been the best he's wrestled all year," Smith said. "He's getting better every match. He's really listening to what his coaches are saying. That kid's got a bright future."
Northern's Gunnar Merovich earned a 16-1 technical fall against Conner Smith in the 113-pound bout as the final seconds ticked off the clock to secure the win.
Gettysburg's loss came against a Northern team with its third coach since former coach Fred DeLuca was charged with harassment in 2008. DeLuca, who was eventually cleared, is coaching at Central York.
Murphy, who graduated from Northern in 2003, has tried to bring stability to the program.
"It's a work in progress," he said. "When you have new faces, you have to stay the course and do what you think are the right things and hope the kids buy in sooner rather than later."
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