A delay in the weight-certification process meant Geneseo junior A.J. Marmion could not wrestle at 220 pounds until Wednesday night.
Marmion's timing was perfect.
Wrestling at his normal weight for the first time this season, Marmion secured the biggest win in what was nail-biting dual. Marmion's pin over Moline's Eddie Perez in the second-to-last bout allowed the Maple Leafs to escape a raucous East Gym with a 26-24 victory.
"This is amazing. A great feeling, Awesome," Marmion said moments after Geneseo secured its third consecutive win over the Maroons.
The clutch finish gave Geneseo (10-1) its 10th consecutive victory and fourth over a Western Big 6 Conference foe this year. The Maple Leafs already own victories over Galesburg, Rock Island and United Township. Up next is a dual against Alleman next Wednesday.
Thus, the Maple Leafs technically have the inside track on what would be Big 6 title if they were in that conference.
"It's an awesome start, but it's about the finish," Geneseo coach Jon Murray said. "We've got to keep doing what we've got to do to keep rolling in a positive direction."
One pin should keep the momentum going.
A back-and-forth dual rested on the heavyweights as Dalton Stracner's decision win at 195 pounds pulled Moline even at 20 with two bouts left. Most figured the 220-pound match was a push considering Marmion had yet to wrestle at the weight this season.
Thirty-eight seconds later, Marmion gave the Maple Leafs an edge.
Using an arm-throw, he quickly took Perez down. A split second later, Marmion had Perez on his back before ultimately completing the pin.
"I just hit it," Marmion said. "I actually got around for once. I usually get a takedown (with the move), but he got stuck on his back."
Before that, neither team completed a pin. It turned out to be the defining match.
Moline (6-4) needed a pin to force a criteria tiebreaker, but junior heavyweight Adarios Jones only secured a 15-6 major decision over Cam Panicucci. Jones' victory was celebrated by Geneseo, adding another twist to an already interesting night.
"When you have to pin somebody, it's hard to do," Moline coach Todd Thompson said. "They know all they have to do is not get pinned -- all that kid had to do was not get pinned and he was going to win the dual meet."
The ending seemed appropriate.
Each team won seven bouts and neither won more than three in a row. Nerves were high as the two traded blows in each match.
The only difference was Geneseo's 5-3 advantage on bonus points.
"It seems that it's always going to be exciting when you have Geneseo and Moline," Murray said.
It took one match to decide the outcome.
"We made one mistake," Thompson said. "And one mistake was the dual meet."