Falling behind early at Stevenson was not much of an obstacle Friday night for state-ranked Libertyville in North Suburban Conference wrestling action.
Beginning the dual meet at 285 pounds, the Patriots actually built a slim 7-6 lead after three matches.
Contact information ( * required )
But it was all Wildcats after that point as Libertyville rolled to an impressive 47-12 NSC Lake Division victory over Stevenson (7-8, 2-3).
The Wildcats (14-2, 5-0) are one step away from regaining the Lake Division crown outright from defending champion Warren if they can defeat Lake Zurich at home next Friday night.
Heavyweight Chris McDermand gave Libertyville a quick 6-0 lead as he pinned his opponent in 1:11 to open the meet.
Stevenson bounced right back as 106-pounder Evan Rodriguez posted an 8-3 decision over Joey Locascio to cut the gap to 6-3.
Then at 113, Stevenson's Joel Feldstein captured a 9-1 major decision and the Pats led 7-6.
But the momentum turned squarely in Libertyville's direction after that point as pins by Noah Strong at 120 and 2012 state qualifier Steve Polakowski at 126 gave the Wildcats the lead for keeps at 18-7.
Libertyville's Danny Trinkleback added a 7-2 decision over Ben Korol at 132 before teammate Tyler Brooks won a 10-7 decision over Quentin Coppess at 138 to extend the lead to 24-7 midway through the contest.
"We understand who Libertyville is historically, especially who they are this season and why they are ranked in the top 10 of the state," said Stevenson coach Shane Cook. "But our kids didn't back down and we obviously have some things to work on to get ready for the state series."
Third-ranked Justin Weber (25-1) got the Patriots back in the win column with a technical fall in 5:12 to cut the Wildcats' lead to 24-12. Weber has won 21 matches in a row since losing his only bout of the season way back at the Barrington Thanksgiving tournament.
Libertyville proceeded to win the final six bouts of the meet starting with Joey Gunther's 12-3 major decision at 152.
Sal Ayala led 10-1 early in his fairly wild 160-pound match against Stevenson's Ryan Mass before Ayala's 16-8 major decision boosted the Cats' lead to 32-12.
Then junior Kayne MacCallum (26-2) toppled Ian Burns 5-1 at 170 to officially clinch the Wildcats' team victory.
"We got a lot of bonus points which we needed and we won almost every match," said MacCallum, who reached the state meet last winter. "Our lower weights are getting better and they're learning not to give up bonus points."
Junior Austin Koziol held off Stevenson's Ned Valtchev 5-4 at 182 before teammate Joey Nield won a tough 3-0 decision over Jay Feldman at 195.
Libertyville 220-pounder Kevin Barbian closed out the meet with a pin in 3:30.
"Having the two pins in a row (at 120 and 126) really helped and it was nice to have Trinkleback's win," said Libertyville coach Dale Eggert. "Koziol had a really good match and Barbian had his arm-bar warmed up to put that match away really quick."