Before the season started, Biglerville High coach Bob Gano gave each wrestler a chain link. He asked the Canners what the gift represented, but the symbolism was simple.
"No weak links," Gano recalled saying. "We have 16 kids. Do the math, guys."
The equation became more complicated after one wrestler quit and with heavyweight Trevor Stover inactive. Still, the Canners beat Eastern York 69-9 on Thursday at Biglerville.
They did so with a lineup that lost three wrestlers now competing in college: Laike Gardner, Trevor Hernandez and Danny May. Credit the additions of quality freshmen Nate Newberry and Scott Cooper and a balanced lineup with few weak points and standouts including Tyler Lieberum, Josh Asper and Jasper Hankey.
"They're a good team," Golden Knights coach Dan Garner said. "We knew they'd be solid top to bottom. They were very impressive tonight. Their kids are very consistent all through their lineup."
The Canners (8-0, 2-0 YAIAA II) managed 10 pins, including five in 52 seconds or faster, and the Golden Knights (3-1, 3-1) won just two bouts.
"I tell them fans come to watch people pin people," Gano said. "When you slap the mat, you can get excited. We seemed to smell it a little bit tonight. When everybody's pinning, you don't want to be the guy who's not pinning.
"We work on bars. If you haven't figured it out, we do bars. I tell our guys everybody knows Biglerville is going to bar. If we do it
Biglerville started with four consecutive pins to open a 24-0 lead it wouldn't lose. The stretch led into 195 pounds, where Golden Knights senior Alex Cooley was scheduled to face Biglerville's Joe Hurda, two top area wrestlers at that weight.
But the Canners forfeited in an effort to avoid Cooley, Eastern York's best wrestler, and be more competitive at 220 and 285.
"It was (disappointing)," Garner said. "You'd always like to see some of the marquee matchups. They've had a nice series of matches in the past."
Hurda lost at 220, but Nate Mentzer earned a 4-0 decision for a 27-9 advantage. The Canners would score the next 42 points on the strength of six pins and one forfeit. Two of those pins came by Newberry at 113 and Cooper at 132.
"They have the opportunity to be really special around here," Gano said. "How special remains to be seen."
The Canners have today to prepare for Saturday's Canner Duals, which features strong opponents such as Spring-Ford, Saucon Valley and Wyomissing.
"Hopefully we'll be on all cylinders on Saturday because we'll need to be," Gano said. "We'll find out if we're as good as some of the other people around the state."
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BIGLERVILLE 69, EASTERN YORK 9
152 -- Dustin Grubbs, Big, pinned Chance Hawkins, 0:47; 160 -- Josh Asper, Big, pinned Lucas Barshinger, 4:47; 170 -- Tyler Lieberum, Big, pinned Dillon Mackley, 1:09; 182 -- Eric Showers, Big, pinned Bryce McKinsey, 0:36; 195 -- Alex Cooley, Big, won by forfeit; 220 -- Camden Stoops, EY, dec. Joe Hurda, 4-2; 285 -- Nate Mentzer, Big, dec. Lee Dice, 4-0; 106 -- Brady Mentzer, Big, pinned Johnny Vidal, 1:08; 113 -- Nate Newberry, Big, pinned Baren Leischner, 1:50; 120 -- Brock Asper, Big, pinned Mason McLasky, 0:56; 126 -- Ryan Kuhn, Big, won by forfeit; 132 -- Scott Cooper, Big, pinned Dalton Lauer, 0:48; 138 -- Colton McKinney, Big, pinned Damian McKinsey, 0:48; 145 -- Jasper Hankey, Big, pinned Michael Dumczyk, 3:08.