HUDSON -- As the final match reached the closing seconds, the Stow-Munroe Falls wrestling team was on the verge of pulling off a big-time upset.
But in a thriller between two longtime rivals, Goliath was able to take down David by a mere whisker.
Host Hudson improved to 2-1 overall and 2-1 in the Suburban League National Conference after posting a tense 37-36 victory over the Bulldogs Jan. 5 at Ray "Buck" Hyser Gymnasium.
The Explorers, who were missing four key performers, trailed most of the way and needed to win the final match.
That meant Hudson's hopes were on the broad shoulders of heavyweight Jack Nord, who got three escapes in the third period and held on for a 3-2 win.
That tied the match at 36. But the Explorers won the first tie-breaking criteria and the match.
What was the tie-breaking criteria?
Stow (0-2, 0-2) was called for unsportsmanlike conduct three times.
"It was a tough one," Bulldogs head coach Randy Jenkins said. "The kids did a good job. They went out there and they wanted to win. Some matches went our way. Unfortunately, the kids have to keep their composure."
Nord's opponent, Richie Morocco, scored a takedown with about 20 seconds left in the match and had Nord's leg in his arms in the final seconds. But Nord avoided being taken down.
"It was not the result I was hoping for," Hudson head coach Joe Caniglia said. "For some of our kids, it was a wake-up call. They need to focus on the little things that can make a big difference in the match."
The Explorers were missing Michael Mileski (120 pounds), Mason Coleman (152), Kyle Minor (182) and Nathan Slater (220), who are nursing injuries.
The Bulldogs didn't have all their aces in the hole either.
Joe Andrassy, who finished fourth at 170 pounds at the 2016 Division I state tournament, and John Stecyk (220) were unable to compete because of injuries.
Hudson trailed 33-24 before winning its last two matches. Jared Cole fell just short of getting a major decision at 182 pounds. He was up 8-0 in the third period and ended up getting an 8-2 win.
Jacob Peters got the Explorers a much-needed six points when he earned a pin in 37 seconds at 220 pounds to set up Nord's theatrics.
"Jacob started wrestling in middle school," Caniglia said. "He had some injuries and never wrestled a full season. He was a pleasant surprise."
There was a double forfeit at 113 pounds and the Bulldogs also won by forfeit at 126 pounds.
Stow got pins from Luke Black in 1 minute, 32 seconds at 132 pounds, Bill Muncy in 5:21 (152) and Justin Sears in 2:41 (170).
The Bulldogs got decision victories from Logan Reiheld (11-4) at 138 pounds and Tim Manley (7-4) at 195 pounds.
Nicci Polifrone gave Hudson six points right off the bat by getting a forfeit win at 106 pounds.
The Explorers got pins from Joe Graf (3:13) at 120, Matt Withem (1:30) at 145 and Austin Mullen (1:11) at 160.
Although his team fell short of pulling off an upset, Jenkins believes Stow's performance is a good stepping stone for the future.
"This is really encouraging for Stow," he said. "We're young and this league is one of the toughest in the county. It shows we can compete with a team like Hudson with a young squad."
The match was a nerve-racking one for Caniglia. But the Explorers delivered when it really mattered.
"A couple of things went their way and then something happened our way," Caniglia said. "We just have to get some healthy kids back in the lineup. It's hard to win dual meets when you have zero margin for error."
The Bulldogs were scheduled to entertain Akron Buchtel Jan. 7. Results were not available at press time.
Stow is set to compete at the Bill Dies Memorial Tournament Jan. 13 (5 p.m.) and Jan. 14 (10 a.m.) at Firestone High School in Akron.