TOWANDA - Towanda kept their NTL Large School title hopes alive, but it wasn't easy.

Down early, the Black Knights were able to take a lead on the Trojans midway through the match then hold on at the end for a 31-28 win Thursday.

"A very good overall team effort tonight," Towanda coach Bill Sexton said. "I'm really pleased with the whole effort, all four guys. I think Troy probably was with their kids as well. It was a well wrestled match. I think the biggest thing was we wrestled a lot of full matches and didn't take time off."

Troy won the first matches as at 170 Landis Zimmerman used an early takedown to edge Justin Hunsinger 3-1 while at 182 a late takedown gave Troy's Cody Ercolino a 3-2 win over Cole Sexton to put the Trojans up 6-0.

Chad Lantz looked to keep Troy rolling at 195 as he built a 3-1 lead going into the third period against Towanda's Dakoatah Manning.

That's when Manning turned the tables, scoring a reversal to start the period, then added two takedowns later to pull away for a 9-5 decision, cutting the Troy lead to 6-3.

That burst of momentum for the Knights didn't last long.

At 220, Briar Jenkins scored a fall over Logan Terry in 3:35 to push the Troy lead to 12-3.

The Knights would rally, though.

At 285, Talon Curry was able to pin Troy's Skylar Drake in 4:38 followed by fellow Knight Jared Lines pinning Troy's Hunter Cohick in 1:07 at 106 pounds.

"I thought we needed a big win out of Talon Curry," Sexton remarked. "We were down 12-3 and we needed a step up match from him."

The back to back falls put Towanda on top 15-12.

Troy fought back as Ethan Calkins scored a fall over Towanda's Josh Parsons in 3:54 at 113 pounds to propel Troy back on top 18-15.

The Trojans then forfeited to Towanda's Kyle Blascak at 120 and the Knights regained the lead 21-18.

That forfeit would start a string of three important wins for the Knights.

At 12,6 Towanda's Nick Secules took an early lead with a takedown in the first period. After a scoreless second Secules scored an escape and takedown to push his lead to 5-0. Troy's Colin Binford would get a reversal late but Secules held on for the 5-2 decision.

At 132, Troy's Jared Spalding started the bout off quickly with a takedown but Towanda's Steven Yates responded in the second period. Yates would get an escape followed by a takedown and three back points, followed by Spalding scoring an escape to put the Knight up 6-3.

In the third period Yates went on top and went to work, scoring eight back points and nearly pinning Spalding to win by a 14-3 major decision.

"I thought Steven Yates had a step up match," Sexton remarked. "He took a 6-3 match and blew it up with a major decision."

That win pushed Towanda's lead to 28-18.

Troy stopped the bleeding at 138 as Nick Bruce jumped out to an early 7-0 lead in the first period thanks to a takedown and five back points. In the second Bruce was on top and scored five more back points.

Leading 12-0 it looked like Bruce was going to get the technical fall if not the pin but that's when Towanda's Matt Bartholomew turned the tables.

Now on top, Bartholomew scored four back points on Bruce in the period. Bruce still won by a 12-4 major decision and cut the Towanda lead to 28-22 but Bartholomew's third period wrestling invigorated the Black Knight crowd.

145 pounds was another close match that pitted Troy's Trey Murray and Towanda's Justin Sheets.

Sheets led 2-0 off a takedown but Murray scored a reversal to knot things up after the first period. After a scoreless Murray scored a reversal to go up 4-2. Sheets would earn a penalty point but couldn't get the escape, falling 4-3.

The decision cut Towanda's lead to 28-25 with two bouts left.

At 152, Troy's Wes Noble came out aggressive and nearly scored a takedown on Towanda's Kalob Benjamin with a headlock but Benjamin squeezed out of it.

In the second Benjamin earned an escape followed by a takedown to go up 3-0 but Noble got on the board with an escape of his own. Noble cut it to 3-2 with an escape in the third but Benjamin scored a late takedown and ultimately won 5-3.

"A really big match out of Kalob Benjamin," Sexton said. "You put a JV kid in the line-up and he comes through in a must win situation."

The win put the Knights up 31-25.

In the final match Troy's Nick Stephani was able to hold on over Towanda's Dayton Wickwire 5-3. Stephani scored a takedown in the first period while Wickwire cut it to 2-1 in the second. In the third Stephani went up 3-1 but a Wickwire takedown tied it up at 3-all. A reversal by Stephani was the difference.

"I thought Dayton Wickwire gave us a heck of a match tonight," Sexton said. "Dayton gave Nick a heck of a match. That's what we needed out of him."

The Knights did a good job being strong when they held the top position most of the night.

"We worked hard on top tonight," Sexton said. "I thought our kids wrestled aggressively on top tonight."

Now the Knights will welcome Wyalusing on Saturday to decide the Large School title. Sexton expects another close match.

"This is the way the league is this year," he explained. "There's four teams on any given night can beat each other. You take Williamson out of the equation and put Troy, Wyalusing, Canton and us on the mat and you'll get close matches."

Junior high will start with an early time of 5 p.m. on Saturday with varsity getting ready to go at 7 p.m.

North Penn 53, Athens 24

The Panthers scored an NTL wrestling win Thursday.

At 138, North Penn's Devin Remley scored a 15-4 major decision over Matthew Anderson while at 145, North Penn's Lucas Groover earned a fall over Brandon Jennings at 1:19.

Athens' Dakota Cain scored a forfeit at 152 while at 160, Panther Ben Jackson pinned Shane McGrath in 2:17 followed by teammate Robert Minnich pinning Brandon Sidonio in 1:11.

Wildcat Roger Horton scored a forfeit at 182 while at 195, his teammate Jordan Alliger pinned North Penn's Benjamin Wilson in 5:49.

At 220, North Penn's Zachary Kriner scored a forfeit while teammate Nathan Kriner pinned Athens' Mitchell Orshal in 1:22.

At 106, North Penn's Sean Giles scored a 13-2 major decision over Jordan Lantz while at 113, Athens' Adam Saylor scored a forfeit.

Panther Jaycob Myers scored a fall over Athens' Dylan Whipple in 4:39 while at 126, North Penn's Charlie Andrews scored a 6-2 decision over Athens' Zach Sheppeck.

At 132, North Penn's Bradley Pequignot pinned Athens' Joshua Hunsinger in 1:28.

Wellsboro 48, Northeast Bradford 18

The Hornets started off the match with forfeits to Nate Logan (106), Tyler Evans (113) and Adam Cleveland (120).

At 126 pounds Wellsboro's Nathan Ingerick pinned Cody Bond in 1:10, which was followed by a double forfeit at 132.

Wellsboro's Joshua Kennedy scored a forfeit at 138 while at 145 Hornet Brandon Owlett scored a 3-2 win over Austin Saxer.

At 152 Wellsboro's Jonathan Chambers scored a forfeit while there was a double forfeit at 160.

At 170 NEB's Mike Buttacavoli pinned Wellsboro's Gaetan Simonin in 44 seconds while at 182 Panther Ryan Russell scored a forfeit.

At 195 Wellsboro's Chad Daugherty pinned NEB's Jordan Krudup in 10 seconds while at 220 Wellsboro's Eli Kennedy scored a 7-1 decision over Richard Forbes.

At 281 NEB's Cody Clark scored a forfeit.

Muncy 56, Sullivan County 21

At 220, Muncy's Nick Roberts pinned Sullivan's Allen McBride in 4:19 while at 285, Sullivan's Nate Ritinski picked up a 1-0 decision over Muncy's Jeff White.

At 106, Muncy's Angelo Barberio scored a forfeit, followed by teammate Jacob Dgien scoring a 16-0 technical fall over Sullivan's Luke Thomas in 4:00. At 120 Griffin Shawn Nitcznski picked up a 1:41 fall over Muncy's Abien Berry while at 126, Muncy's Andy Aguilar pinned Sullivan's Colton Fry in 4:50.

At 132, Muncy's Cam Good pinned Sullivan's James Heinrich in 24 seconds while at 138, Muncy's Jaimee Moyle pinned Sullivan's Christian Rogan in 3:41.

At 145, Griffin Dylan Ammerman scored a forfeit followed by teammate Logan Wiles earning a forfeit at 152.

At 160, Muncy's Tyler Moyle decisioned Sullivan's Matt Dailey 3-1 while at 170, Muncy's Jake Colburn pinned Sullivan's Tanner McCarty in 2:52.

At 192, Muncy's Troy Hembury scored a forfeit while at 195, Indian Skyler Ebner scored a fall over Sullivan's David Little in 51 seconds.