In a match up of top five rated dual teams, matches are expected to be close.
And nearly every match was competitive Thursday night when the Rockets hosted the Nebraska City wrestling team at Syracuse.
But the visiting Pioneers won the lion's share of those close matches and came away with a decisive 49-9 victory.
Tony Heng opened the meet for the Pioneers at 106 pounds and accepted a forfeit before Darin Sornson of Nebraska City scored a pin fall win over Kade Baker at 113.
Kyle Francois of Nebraska City won the 120 pound match against Neil Damme by decision and the visitors led 15-0.
Tyler Berner won by decision for the Rockets over Andrew Christiansen at 126 pounds to get the home team on the scoreboard.
Nebraska City responded with three straight wins. Jesse Barton beat Dalton Dozier by decision at 132 and Tommie Knapp won over Skyler Teten at 138, also by decision, before Jay Sornson took a technical fall win against Trey Mueller at 145.
Rocket 152 pound grappler Ty Snyder pinned Jake Adams to make the score 26-9, but that's the last time the home team posted points.
D.J. Marco won by decision over Will Neels at 160 and Jake Touchstone won in overtime against John Essink at 170 pounds.
Trenton Dolezal won by pin over Tommy Lowman at 182 while Keyes Nelson defeated Gus Husen by decision at 195 and Jake Pierce won by technical fall against Jacob Burr at 220.
The meet closed with Trenton Kasbohm scoring a victory against Matt Clark by decision at 285.
In the end, the Pioneers seemed to do just what they needed to do to secure victories across the board and win a final team decision that was deceptively lopsided.
It should also be noted that the Rockets did not have their full complement of wrestlers on Thursday.
Bryce Roecker, the team's usual 182 pounder, is one of the Rockets' top guys, but he was not in the line up due to illness.
"We were able to come out on top and we won in a lot of close matches," said Coach Tyler Hodges. "They had some kids out tonight that hurt their line up a little bit.
"All in all it was a good night. Kids wrestled hard and I thought they wrestled complete matches. We scored bonus points when we needed to, which was big."
In scanning through the match results, Coach Hodges said it's difficult to pick out the one big result that made a difference for Nebraska City.
Hodges noted that ranked wrestlers matched up at 132, 138, 170, and 285 pounds.
"You put two of the better teams in the state together and you are going to see great wrestling like that," said Hodges.
Page 2 of 2 - The match at 170 pounds was noteworthy.
Coach Hodges said Touchstone wrestled a complete match and also gave credit to Essink, who bumped up in weight for that challenge.
"He was the (state) runner up two years ago," Hodges said. "Essink is a tough kid."
Overall, the Pioneers won more matches, but it would be hard to leave the gym on Thursday without being impressed with both teams.
"It was a little showcase for what Otoe County has to offer," said Hodges.
Both teams will return to action this weekend for big events. The Rockets are going to be competing at the Capitol Conference meet at Arlington Saturday.
Nebraska City competes at the 16-team David City Invite on Friday.
Coach Hodges said Thursday night that his team would be ready for the challenge of wrestling against rated competition at the David City event despite the emotions that were expended in garnering a win against a tough rival team.
Hodges noted that his team has a number of dates on the schedule where the squad wrestles back-to-back days against tough competition. And that set up gives the Pioneers practice at a skill they will have to have at the end of the season.
"You have to do it at state. You have to do it at districts," said Coach Hodges. "You've got to be able to wrestle well, come back, make weight, and wrestle well the next day. This is all a test for the kids working toward the end."