HAWLEY - It seems as though every time Paupack hits the mat for a varsity wrestling match this year, someone knew steps into the limelight.
On Wednesday night, it was Jackson Murray's turn.
Crestwood landed on the shores of The Big Lake and battered the Buckhorns early, building a quick double digit lead. However, Murray ignited a rally that eventually ended with an electrifying 42-27 victory.
"Jackson Murray was the hero tonight, this was his match," an elated Coach Steve Krushnowski said just moments after the match.
"The kid is incredibly talented, but he's a sophomore and he lacks confidence. Tonight, Jackson went out there and just went after it. That win was absolutely huge for us. It was the turning point of the match."
With this non-league win, Paupack upped its overall record to 8-2 on the season. The Bucks now get to enjoy a bit of a respite and won't wrestle again until next Wednesday at home versus Lake Lehman.
The local lads then resume their Lackawanna League slate Thursday night when top-ranked Delaware Valley comes calling.
Both of those matches are scheduled for a 6:45 p.m. start in the high school gym.
Coach Krushnowski admitted that his kids came out a bit flat against Crestwood.
"I was worried there might be a little bit of a letdown after our win over Honesdale," he said. "Thankfully, it didn't last too long. Our middle and upper weight kids really stepped up for us tonight."
The match began at 113 and Crestwood opened with back-to back wins and an 8-0 lead. However, Chase Gallik strode to the mat and hung six team points on the board for Paupack.
Gallik needed just 39 seconds to clamp Michael Padden at 126, narrowing the Comets' lead to 8-6 after three bouts.
Page 2 of 2 - After Crestwood upped its advantage to 13-6 via a tech fall Ryan Tarantino pulled the Bucks within one with a first period pin at 138 (1:15).
The score stood 21-12 when Murray squared off with Comet senior Aaron Barratta at 160. Jackson started slowly, leading just 2-0 after one period.
However, midway through the second, Murray exploded. He brought the fans to their feet with another takedown, then unleashed pandemonium with a lightning-quick clamp.
"If we can just get Jackson to believe in himself, that's the kind of thing he's capable of every time he steps on the mat," said Coach Krushnowski. "He has all thing qualities that you just can' teach: quickness, strength and savvy."
Murray's pin drew Paupack to within three points at 21-18 and moments later Jerome Haupt gave the Buckhorns their first lead of the night.
A sophomore who entered the match with a 5-6 record, Haupt sent the hometown faithful into a frenzy pinning Crestwood's Matt Dexter at 170.
"We told Jake to go out there and take care of business and that's exactly what he did," Coach Krushnowski said. "Jake is getting better every week. He's had some ups and downs so far this year, but tonight was definitely one of his best bouts."
Paupack's mometum just kept building as the match wound down.
The Bucks reeled off three falls in the final four bouts.
Jared Wehrmann (182), Jovan Marshall (195) and Calvin Kreiter (285) each posted a pin to close out the Comets.
"We're constantly preaching how important it is to get bonus points and that was the difference tonight," Coach Krushnowski said. "We caught fire there toward the end of the match and Crestwood didn't have an answer."