**Note: This article originally published in The Reporter and on PaPrepLive.com**
FRANCONIA >> With his squad down 17-6 after five bouts, Robert Shettsline’s forth Penn wrestling team needed a spark.
“It was nice…Will Laughlin got a pin there and Eric (Laughlin) came back and got two; (he) just gave them a minor decision instead of a major…The pins really helped us out there.” Shettsline said.
The Laughlin pin at 138 pounds, which was preceded by a Ryan Vulakh pin at 132, gave the Knights an 18-17 lead they never relinquished. In all, North Penn recorded four pins to earn a 49-23 Suburban One League Continental Conference victory over Souderton Wednesday.
Despite a Tyler Leidy pin at 285 for North Penn (13-3), which is where the match started, it was Souderton who sprinted out of the gate. Tyler Williams earned a tech fall at 106 and Harrison Andrade followed that with a decision victory for the Big Red wrestlers.
“We just have some tough-nosed kids down below,” Souderton head coach Tristan Boyd said. “The old adage is ‘iron sharpens iron.’ Ultimately we have a bunch of tough-nosed kids that are beating up on each other every day, making each other better. That showed tonight. I was very impressed with the way that they wrestled tonight.”
The big victory in the match for Souderton (6-9) came from Brandon Bach, who beat Sofiane Bensmail on a 3-1 decision at 126. Bach tallied all three of his points in the final period.
“Huge win for Brandon,” Boyd said about Bach, who is ranked fifth in the district at 120. “He’s wrestling up a weight class against a state qualifier and he just wrestled a very intelligent, controlled match. Pushed the tempo, gave himself a chance to win in the third period. We’re very proud of the way he wrestled tonight.”
The biggest point earner for Souderton was Josh Baker, who earned a pin at 170.
Aside from the pins from Vulakh and Laughlin, the key bout for North Penn was a 4-0 decision from Colin Shannon over Thomas Michaels.
“We always want to see our wrestlers wrestle the better wrestlers,” Shettsline said. “It’s good going into the postseason later on. We want our guys to get the best competition during the year.”
Shannon is ranked third in the district at 152, while Michaels is ranked fifth in the same class for Souderton.
“Getting that first take down (was important),” Shettsline said of Shannon’s decision. “It kind of breaks the guy’s spirit a little bit. We tell our guys to keep riding tough and keep scoring points.”
North Penn took the team points in eight of the final nine bouts, which included a pin from Mike Gallagher at 182.
The Knights begin the District 1-AAA dual tournament Thursday as the fifth seed and take on No. 12 West Chester Rustin 5:30 p.m. at Rustin.
“We still got to sharpen up some of our skills,” Shettsline said. “We just have to wrestle at the top of our game each week, each match from now on out.”
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