Saturday's meeting between the St. Augustine Prep and Delsea wrestling teams was billed as a battle of South Jersey's best.
Maybe fittingly, the match held at the Holy Cross High School gym came down to the final bout of the afternoon.
Brad Dobzanski of Delsea defeated Jose Tabora of St. Augustine by a 3-2 decision at 182 pounds to give the Crusaders a 31-23 victory and raise their record to 13-0.
"We got off to a good start and we started slipping off toward our lighter weights," Dobzanski said. "But I knew as soon as we got back to the middle weights that we would be able to at least tighten it up and get the win."
Trailing 24-12, Delsea ripped off five straight wins in the middle to upper weights for the comeback.
A forfeit at 152 burned the Hermits, who could not run Dillon Taylor because of injury. The six-point swing cut their lead to 23-21 with three matches to go.
Lorenzo Ruggiero then held off Nick Clark, 1-0, at 160 to put Delsea ahead, 24-23, the team's first lead since a 9-8 advantage. The Crusaders entered the last bout up five after a huge 16-4 win by Billy Janzer over Colin Good at 171.
"As coaches, we always know what we have coming up and what matchups we have and if we're in it or out of it, and we still knew we were in it," Delsea coach Greg Sawyer said. "I said coming into this match that we could win a lot of matches and I thought they could win a lot of matches, so it was going to be a battle like that."
It was the second time in the match that Sawyer saw his team take the momentum. The first came after two opening wins, a 6-3 decision for Vince DeGeorge at 195 and a pin by Jake Hallowell at 220, put the Crusaders in front, 9-0.
St. Augustine (11-7) erased that early advantage, starting with an overtime pin by James Brady over Mark Chaney at 285. The bout ignited the Hermits, who went on to pick up five of six bouts in the light weights.
Despite dominating the middle of the match, St. Augustine faltered down the stretch, in large part because of injuries. However, two costly penalties ultimately made it a five-point Delsea lead by the final bout instead of a three-point lead.
"I thought we wrestled great, considering a very adverse day for us from the get-go," St. Augustine coach Bill Ward said. "I thought we wrestled as well as we possibly could, and they were the better team today."
Delsea 31, St. Augustine 23
195: Vince DeGeorge, D, d. Connor Murray, 6-3;
220: Jake Hallowell, D, pin Ryan Lynd, 5:13; 285: James Brady, pin, d. Mark Chaney, 6:29 (OT);
106: Chris Recinto, SA, d. George Coleman, 8-2;
113: Connor Kraus, SA, pin John Patterson, :53;
120: Nick Bennett, D, d. Brett Bodner, 10-4; 126: Steven Schwab, SA, d. Edison Echeverria, 5-2;
132: Reid White, SA, d. John Hassett, 8-0; 138: Mason Bechler, SA, d. Aiden Borquet, 6-5;
145: Tommy Maxwell, D, d. Colin Donahue, 5-3;
152: Delsea d. St. Augustine, forfeit;
160: Lorenzo Ruggiero, D, d. Nick Clark, 1-0;
171: Billy Janzer, D, d. Colin Good, 16-4;