Entering last night's match at No. 3 Old Mill, 15 seasons had passed since Northeast's 23rd-year coach Al Kohlhafer was victorious over a Patriots squad.
And after his fifth-ranked Eagles lost, 37-13, before a screaming, capacity crowd at Old Mill, Kohlhafer has to wait a little longer for another chance.
Coach Mike Hampe said his Patriots (12-1) could secure the Eagles' (12-1) first loss with 'eight wins.'
The Patriots, who have a 6-2 series lead over Northeast, won nine matches, including pins by Ken Seavey (140, 23-6) and fifth-ranked Todd Hultgren (152, 21-5), and a technical fall by No. 2-ranked state champion Marc Proccacini (160, 22-3).
"Everyone wrestled incredibly tonight -- I can't think of one person who didn't," said Proccacini, who put the match mathematically away, 31-10.
Hultgren's 15th pin tied sophomore teammate, Don Patterson (189, 19-4) -- a 5-0 winner over Ken Fowler -- for the team lead. It also helped the Patriots to remain unbeaten at home since Dec. 12, 1986, and to improve their winning streak against county opponents to 26.
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his first two seasons -- the last time, 31-21, in an 8-3 campaign in 1978 -- dropped his wrestlers a weight class from 171 on down.
Referring to last Friday's loss to No. 2 North Carroll, which ended thePatriots dual-match streak at 31, Proccacini added, "this was very big. The intensity was just there for us."
Meanwhile, few things went right for the Eagles. Even regional champ, Al Grunder (171, 19-7), had problems winning, 7-5, over Will Willingham, who wrestled his second varsity match. Grunder, one of three Northeast seniors, trailed, 5-0, early and needed back points with 43 seconds left to break a 5-5 tie.
"This was our first time in front of a big crowd, and we didn't look great," said Kohlhafer. "All week long, they thought of Old Mill and I think the hype was just to much for them. We'll learn from it and be back better than tonight."
Junior Jason Bryant (103, 22-4) major decisioned freshman Dale Bowers (19-5, 14 pins), giving Old Mill a brief 4-0 lead before the Eagles went up, 7-4, on a decision and a major decision, respectively, from the sophomore Kusick twins, second-ranked Marty (112, 24-0) and fourth-ranked Mike (119, 23-1).
Marty overcame a 3-2 first-period deficit against junior Shawn Radford.
"Those matches were real big for us," said Hultgren, whose younger brother, Paul, wrestled 119. "Keeping it close, no pins -- that got us on a roll."
Old Mill took the next four matches, including pivotal bouts at 125 and 130, to go up, 20-7, before Northeast's Jason Grunder (145, 21-4) trimmed the deficit to 20-10 with his 8-5 decision.
Dave Basta (125, 22-8) -- who spent the week cutting weight -- dominated Northeast's Chris Morrow (19-7), 15-1. And in a battle sixth-ranked 130-pounders, Kevin Seavey (23-5) edged the Eagles' Steve Smiddy (20-4), 4-3.
Sixth-ranked Patriot Rick Olesczcuk (135, 19-3) blanked Matt Jewer (20-7), and Kevin's twin, Ken (140, 23-6) broke a scoreless tie with the first pin of the night.