HOOSICK, N.Y. -- Everyone knew that the match between the Hoosick Falls Central School wrestling team and Salem would be close -- like many of the duals between the schools that have the longest rivalry in Section II.
On Thursday night, thanks to some strategy and a couple of forfeits, the Generals got the upper hand, beating Hoosick Falls 42-31.
"I knew it would come down to 1 or 2 weights, to the more inexperienced wrestlers," said Hoosick Falls coach Landon Nelson. "They snuck away with a couple of [close] decisions and that decided the dual meet."
Salem won seven of the contested matches, while the Panthers were victorious in six of them.
Starting at 285 pounds, Salem took a 12-0 lead after forfeits at 285 and 99. Then Salem's Mara Jarvis made it 18-0 with a pin of Jon McCart at 106 pounds in 57 seconds.
The Panthers came back part of the way in the next two matches, with an aggressive Nolan Foster scoring a fall in 2:49 over Max Roderick at 113 and Luis Weierbach dominating for a 12-1 major decision over Doug Hall at 120, to pull Hoosick Falls to 18-10.
"I wish I could have contributed more to the team with a pin," said Weierbach, who improved to 21-1 with the victory. "We wrestled real well tonight, won many of the matches. We're peaking as a team."
The sophomore Foster continued his march toward sectionals and beyond, improving to 23-2.
"Nolan worked the hardest in the offseason," Nelson said.
Dan VanDyk made it 23-10 Salem after a 17-0 technical fall at 126, but the match tightened up considerably after that. Luke Fronhofer scored a takedown with 40 seconds left in the third period to beat Tom Peabody, 3-1, at 132, and Zack Seese topped Tyler Rondeau in an 8-0 major decision at 138 to make it 30-10.
The 145-pound weight class featured another nail-biting match, as Carter Merecki eked past Mike Matatt, 1-0, at 145. Merecki used a second-period escape to gain the advantage, then held off a charging Matatt nearly escaping himself at the buzzer for the win.
"There were a lot of close matches, not a lot of blowouts," said Salem coach Frank Fronhofer II. "The matches in the middle could have gone either way, but Mara getting it started with the pin at 106 set the tone."
A close match went Hoosick's way at 152, as Colby Davendonis took down Levi Cummings, 5-2. Davendonis took a 3-0 lead after two periods, but Cummings scored a reversal to pull within 3-2. With seven seconds left, Davendonis finished a reversal of his own for the final margin to raise his record to 16-4.
The teams traded falls at 160 and 170, with Salem's Dustin Humphrey pinning Shayne Richard and Hoosick Falls' Garrett Wright falling Ryan Slater.
The 182-pound match was the most hotly-contested between Derek Bird and Jacob Jameson. Bird scored a first-period takedown, but gave up penalty points in the first and third periods for locking his hands. In the up position, Bird fought valiently to keep Jameson from escaping through four restarts, but on the final one, Jameson got away with 0.9 seconds left.
"It was just an exciting match, our kid wrestled the entire six matches and it paid off," Fronhofer said. "It was tied but it was OK to go to overtime. I thought the match leaned our way the longer it went, but to get the win in regulation was nice."
Bird dropped to 13-12 on the season with the defeat.
"To date, Derek doesn't have a full year in wrestling," Nelson said. "He's done a fantastic job. He was fatigued in the third and small mistakes happen, you see it all the time. Derek can learn from it."
Jake Pine won by forfeit at 195, and Shane Barss finished the match with a pin over Parker McPhee, an opponent who had beaten Barss a year ago.
"Shane had a great match," Nelson said. "We've had overall improvement from the guys, there were some tight breaks at the end and [Salem] came out on top."
Weierbach said he thinks the team is peaking at the right time.
"We're progressing toward states, heading into the postseason," said Weierbach, who will wrestle Saturday at the Wasaren League tournament in Granville. "This is when teams slow down, but we're picking it up. We want to show well in the section as a team."