But the matchup between the two backups -- which Kauffman won in a 2-0 decision -- led to Boiling Springs High's 29-26 home win against Bermudian Springs.
"There you go," Eagles coach Dave McCollum said. "A match with two great teams coming down to back-ups. Little bit of depth on both teams."
Shelton was in the Bermudian Springs lineup because starter Jared Spahr is injured. Kauffman's appearance came after a eureka moment for Boiling Springs head coach Rod Wright in the bout before it.
"I started to look at (the matchup)," he said. "'Hmm, I got this freaking freshman here, Shelton, and I'm going to put (Mark) Lentz on him. I don't know if that's a good choice.'
"Something just told me I needed to do something a little different."
The switch was just one of many chess moves both coaches made during a tense match. Shelton was one of six Eagle wrestlers who were bumped up a weight class.
The match started with Sponseller, who normally competes at 182, in the 195-pound bout against Logan Murphy, whom Sponseller beat in a tight 6-5 decision.
"It almost came back and bit them in the (butt), didn't it?" Wright said. "Right out of the gate, you bump up your big stud, and we almost knock him off. That's not good. I thought Murphy wrestled a hell of a match against Tristan. It almost came back to haunt them."
Boiling Springs won the next two matches, and Teddy Marines faced Joey Byers, a state runner-up last year, while the Eagles trailed 9-7. Marines lost a 6-4 decision.
"Teddy's come a long way," McCollum said. "The second day (of the Dale Bock Memorial Duals at Chambersburg last week), he was an animal, a machine. He wrestled the same way tonight. He's in great shape. That's one of the reasons he's so strong late in the match."
Brad Farley and Austin Jackson won their bouts for Bermudian Springs (13-1) after that to take a 17-17 tie into the Shelton-Kauffman bout.
Boiling Springs took a 29-23 lead going into the final match, the 182-pound match, after both teams traded wins over the next four matches. A pin wouldn't have given the Eagles a win. They trailed on the fourth tiebreaker, which was the number of technical falls.
"The kids didn't know that," McCollum said. "We had it figured out."
Farley and Jackson rejoined Bermudian Springs after missing several earlier competitions.
"Farley and Jackson are back for the time now," McCollum said. "We're working on somebody else. I can't mention any names. He should be back in a week. This won't be the same team in two months from now if these kids stay focused. They'll be a totally different lineup."
He added he hopes Spahr, who suffered "concussion-like symptoms" during last week's Chambersburg duals, would return for this weekend's competition at Dallastown.
firstname.lastname@example.org; 717-637-3736, extension 139
at Boiling Springs
BOILING SPR. 29, BERM. SPRINGS 26
106 -- Korbin Myers, BoS, pinned Tyler Kunkle, 1:34; 113 -- Joey Byers, BoS, dec. Teddy Marines, 6-4; 120 -- Brad Farley, BeS, pinned Grant Bond, 5:43; 126 -- Kyle Shoop, BoS, tech. fall Jake Ford, 3:56; 132 -- Austin Jackson, BeS, maj. decision Andrew Fabo, 10-0; 138 -- Tyler Kauffman, BoS, dec. Briton Shelton, 2-0; 145 -- Mark Lentz, BoS, dec. Colton Dull, 9-4; 152 -- Noah Blasone, BeS, dec. John Vaughn, 5-4; 160 -- Tony Nickle, BoS, pinned Ryan Starner, 1:22; 170 -- Jake Slonaker, BeS, dec. Kyle Taylor, 2-1; 182 -- Tyler Fitzkee, BeS, dec. Nathan Gouhon, 13-6; 195 -- Tristan Sponseller, BeS, dec. Logan Murphy, 6-5; 220 -- Brock Linebaugh, BeS, maj. decision Calvin Barrick, 14-5; 285 -- Tyler Wentzel, BoS, dec. Jon Jimenez, 3-2.