His West York wrestling team once again fell behind early, this time to visiting Dover, and found itself trailing by 16 points after the first four matches Thursday evening.
"That scared me," Gross said. "We will get in slumps in matches and starting losing when we shouldn't. But this was the first time we responded with passion and heart.
"We didn't climb into our shell."
The Bulldogs got three straight falls by Zach Smith (160), Jared Gemmill (170) and Kyle Narber (182). However, the Bulldog comeback that wasn't complete until freshmen Cole Rinehart (120) and Noah Townsley (126) put away the Eagles, 39-34, with wins in the final two bouts.
Rinehart's 8-6 decision over Eagle freshman Calvin Anderson was the lone non-bonus point win for West York (7-6, 4-4 YAIAA Division I) but that was all the Bulldogs needed at the time, trailing 34-30 heading into the 120-pound bout.
Anderson got an early takedown and tacked on a pair of back points near the end of the first period to take a 4-0 lead into the second period. Rinehart came back with two takedowns of his own, cutting his deficit to one heading into the final two minutes.
A pair of stalling points sandwiched a takedown midway through the final period and gave Rinehart the come-from-behind victory that kept his team in the match.
Gross has become accustomed to his freshman lightweight
"Cole's a fighter. He really battles for three periods," Gross said. "I had a lot of confidence in him coming back because he's done it before. He responds to it when the pressure is on him."
Townsley, one of five freshmen in West York's lineup Thursday, followed with a third-period fall over Merlin Paz to clinch the win.
The highlight matchup of the evening was Narber and Shaheed Mitchell at 182.
The two grapplers had split matches earlier in the season and were in another tight one with Mitchell leading 3-2 after two periods. When the Bulldog sophomore stood up looking for an escape, Mitchell got too low, and Narber caught the Dover junior for the pin 36 seconds into the final period.
Dover coach Brandon Fuhrman wasn't disappointed so much in the defeat itself but rather how his Eagles lost.
"We gave up a few more bonus points than I thought we would. But that's part of the (game)," he said.
Dover (6-6, 4-3) got excellent performances from the sophomore duo of Logan Ambrose (152) and Cameron Beckman (285).
Ambrose registered a takedown with just 13 seconds remaining in his match against West York freshman Garrett Stauffer to earn a 3-1 decision. Beckman was shutting out another Bulldog ninth-grader, Hunter Schievert, before he finally notched the fall at the 5:01 mark.
"That was a nice win for Logan. He's been weighing around 145 but wrestling 152 and 160. He done a lot of sacrificing for the team," Fuhrman said. "And so has Cameron. He's a 195-pounder who's been wrestling 220 and 285 to help the team."
at West York
WEST YORK 39, DOVER 34
132 -- Ross Drawbaugh, Do, pinned Anthony Knotts, :43; 138 -- Nate Williams, Do, major dec. Ryan Randolph, 13-0; 145 -- Devon Heffley, Do, dec. Kyle Stauffer, 12-6; 152 -- Logan Ambrose, Do, dec. Garrett Stauffer, 3-1; 160 -- Zach Smith, WY, pinned Andrew Stenshorn, 2:31; 170 -- Jared Gemmill, WY, pinned Tommy Lehman, :21; 182 -- Kyle Narber, WY, pinned Shaheed Mitchell, 4:36; 195 -- Dan Bisking, Do, won by forfeit; 220 -- Jake Gemmill, WY, pinned Michael Lopresti, 5:01; 285 -- Cameron Beckman, Do, pinned Hunter Schievert, 5:01; 106 -- Zach Pelkey, Do, pinned Zach Butters, :21; 113 -- Cheyenne Diehl, WY, won by forfeit; 120 -- Cole Rinehart, WY, dec. Calvin Anderson, 8-6; 126 -- Noah Townsley, WY, pinned Merlin Paz, 4:41.