WEST DEPTFORD (N.J.) - The Gloucester High School wrestling team was looking to notch its third win in a row following a sweep in a tri-match with Lindenwold and Palmyra.
Colonial Conference rival West Deptford stood in the way as it was looking to bounce back from a narrow three-point loss to Audubon.
The two conference titans clashed in a tilt for the ages with the Lions pulling out a 36-28 win over on Friday night.
Gloucester's Jake Zearfoss awaits his bout to start in a match against Haddonfield at Haddonfield Memorial High School on January 6, 2023. Collin Conway/D2 Sports Network
"It's a really big win," Gloucester's Kaleb Wright said. "They were looking to beat us after their loss to Audubon, but we just wanted it more."
Bear Smith (285 pounds) started the night off with a pin for the Lions. West Deptford's Talen Terinoni (106) got the Eagles on the scoreboard with a pin before the Lions' Mason Johnson (113) answered back with a 6-4 decision.
The Eagles' wins for the remainder of the match stemmed from Anthony Conway (120), Trevor Lundfeldt (132), and Nate Benner (138), with Cole DuBois (190) and Marcus Carter (215) picking up last gasp wins.
West Deptford led 21-12 before Gloucester's heart of the lineup emerged to win each match from 144 pounds to 175 pounds to come from behind and secure the win.
John Daily (144) sparked the comeback with a pin for the Lions in his season debut. Jason Chiodi (150) gutted out a 7-4 decision to tie the match at 21-21. Chinggis McKnight (157) grabbed the lead for Gloucester with a 13-6 decision.
The Lions never looked back.
Jake Zearfoss (165) extended the advantage with a pin of his own and Wright (175) clinched the match with a pin to put West Deptford to bed.
The victory illustrated the completeness of the Lions' lineup and displayed the program's confidence.
"West Deptford is a storied program and beating them is always huge," Gloucester coach Tom McConnell said. "With our lineup, all of our guys have a shot in every match so I felt really confident that tonight the team could get the job done.
"The whole lineup tonight fought in every bout on the mat. I couldn't be more proud of the fight and determination this team showed to climb back and win this match."
McKnight was emphatic in describing the win.
"We're always confident," the 157-pound winner said. "Every match we just come out and give it our all."