HERSHEY — There's nothing more dangerous than a wounded Bear.Especially one that wears a singlet and has the chance for a championship trophy taken away from it.
Boyertown was indeed scarred by Friday's early proceedings at the PIAA Team Wrestling Championships. It experienced the previously-unexperienced feeling of defeat across the board, losing to Greater Latrobe, 32-23, in the Class AAA bracket's quarterfinal round.
But these Bears came out on the attack during the evening's second round of consolations. They made Father Judge the victim of their determined response, pasting the Crusaders by a 54-14 margin to continue their bid for a medal from the state's duals competition ... even if it doesn't end up being gold or silver.
"That was a tough loss," Boyertown senior Eddie Kriczky said, "but our main challenge was to refocus ... get excited, focus on this one match."
Judge was square in the Bears' sights at the Giant Center. They went on an 11-bout tear, overturning the District 12 champions' early 8-6 lead and clinching another day in Hershey Saturday.
That run of 48 unanswered points featured six pins, four of them in succession between 182 and 285. Boyertown (23-1) also factored in four decisions — two of them shutouts — on the way to securing a third-round duel with Parkland.
"Any time you have your first loss of the season, you're going to be down a bit," said Kriczky, who capped the run with a 2-0 decision of David White at 138. "But we make it a point that everyone work just as hard."
The lopsided verdict against Judge stood in contrast to Boyertown's quarterfinal clash with Greater Latrobe. The Wildcats led the entire way, getting a key decision at 138 that prevented the Bears, trailing 29-23 at the time, from pulling even at the end.
"When you wrestle some of the toughest teams in the state," head coach Pete Ventresca said, "teams with one or two losses are as good as one with a 23-0 record."
The Bears and their season-long 23-match win streak ran into a buzzsaw in the form of a Greater Latrobe unit that came in as champions of District 7. The Wildcats (14-2) opened a 12-point lead at the start, expanded it to 21-4, then outlasted Boyertown's rebound to make it a 29-23 contest with one weight left.
Cody Richmond's 9-1 major decision of Justin Short got Boyertown on the board at 170. Jordan Wertz touched off a 13-point run by going overtime to beat Travis Schmelling at 220, 5-1, before Jordan Wood rolled up an 11-2 major on Tyler Mears at 285.
Jakob Campbell's first-period pin of Carson Palmer at 106 cut the deficit to 21-17. Then Lucas Miller got the Bears back on track with his 9-3 decision of Joel Cawoski at 126, and Chris Berry followed with a 3-0 decision of Ethan Stats at 132.
"You hope it (losing) doesn't happen," Ventresca said, "but it's one of those things that just does, so you go at it. We've won a lot of matches being on the other side of that."
William Scholl served a dual role in the Judge match, the junior upper weight's 1:34 pin of Kyle Palinkas at 182 giving his team a lead that wasn't topped the rest of the way. It set off a pin parade in which Jordan Wertz (195), Wood (220), Brody O'Connell (285), Garrett Mauger (120) and Chris Berry (132) participated.
Mauger's 1:53 drop of Charles Wallace proved the clincher for Boyertown, giving it a 42-8 lead with four weights to go. Richmond (170), Jakob Campbell (103), David Campbell (113), Lucas Miller (126) and Kriczky contributed decisions to the Bears' onslaught.
"The coaches made it a point to try and get us pumped up," Kriczky said. "They wanted to see how we would react to that first loss."
Like a wounded Bear, no doubt.
Wood had Boyertown's fastest fall against the Crusaders, needing just 36 seconds to dispatch Jim Galasso. ... Judge's final points came when the locals forfeited to Joe Galasso at 145. ... The Bears next face Parkland when the tourney resumes Saturday at 9 a.m. "We're figuring on tough matches all day,' Ventresca said.
Follow Jeff Stover on Twitter at @MercuryX Stover.