ANNVILLE - As defending champions, the Northern Lebanon wrestling team is getting used to throwing its weight around in Section Three of the Lancaster-Lebanon League. The Vikings did just that Saturday night against county-rival Annville-Cleona.
Northern Lebanon fired the first salvo in the section race, downing the host Dutchmen 43-25.
The Vikings remained perfect in the league by winning eight of the 14 weight classes, including registering half a dozen victories by pinfall. The reigning section champions rallied back against the Dutchmen in the upper weight classes, sweeping four matches between 170 and 220 pounds.
"We had a lot of stuff that didn't go as planned -- believe it or not," said Viking head coach Rusty Wallace. "But that's what we needed. We needed to wrestle a tough team that can expose our weaknesses. I got a whole page full of stuff that I know we need to work on now."
Northern Lebanon (8-0 overall, 3-0 league) hosts Elco (11-2 overall, 1-0 league) in a pivotal match Tuesday at 7 p.m. in Fredericksburg.
"We got Elco, Pequea Valley and Columbia left -- this was a hump for us," added Wallace. "Elco is dangerous. They got pretty much the whole team back from last year, and they got a couple really tough kids. We got some things to fix before Tuesday."
Against the Dutchmen, 138-pound junior Joey Emborsky opened the night with a bloody 12-2 major decision over Dalton Blackman. The lead lasted 2:19 into the next match when A-C's 145-pound stud Jeff Inman pinned Cody Kreiser to give the home team a 6-4 lead.
The Dutchmen extended their advantage to 13-4 following a major decision by Tanner Pyles (145) and Mark Wagner's dramatic pinfall at 160.
"Annville came out and they wrestled us tough. They were in our face, they pushed the tempo -- hats off of them, they wrestled really well," said Wallace. "But our guys are tight. That's one of the things we have to our advantage, if something doesn't go our way, the other guys just fight. We have a little bit of depth."
NL's comeback started at 170 with Evan Daub pinning Justin Ulrich in 3:03. Travis Gates followed with a pin over Andrew Royer at 182 in 3:31. Derek DiAngelis squeezed in a 4-1 decision over Kole Orfino at 195, and senior Matt Vines made quick work of his 220-pound counterpart. The Vikings led 25-13 after the Vines' victory.
"Obviously they have a good team," Dutchmen head coach Mike Miller said. "We didn't get the matchups we wanted. They got the matchups, and they got the bonus points."
A-C's Brandon Light stopped the bleeding at heavyweight, securing a 6-1 decision over George Thompson. However, Northern Lebanon's lightweights Dustin Breidegan (106) and Zach Kelly (113) both registered pins in less than 90 seconds to lift the Vikings to a 37-16 edge.
Dutchmen Josh Renninger (120) and Matt Darok (126) both earned lopsided decisions prior to NL's 132-pounder Caleb Blatt ending the evening with a pin of Kodey Manwiller.
The Dutchmen host Lancaster Catholic on Tuesday at 7 p.m. They visit Myerstown to battle the Raiders on Jan. 22.
"We still got a lot to wrestle for," added Miller. "We have a bunch of section matches -- anything can happen. We'll just learn from it and go from there."
Our goal's been the same all year - we want to win everything," said Wallace. "We got to do it a little more convincingly than we did tonight."