If only there were near pins in team scoring.
With a commanding 14-point lead and just three matches left, Durango High School's wrestling team had to feel confident it could hold on for team victory in its dual meet against Montezuma-Cortez High School at the rowdy DHS gym Tuesday night.
Maybe their lack of aggression was the problem.
After a second-period pin from Durango's Ty Penning gave the Demons a 36-22 advantage, the Panther wrestlers rallied for two pins and a major decision as DHS supporters shouted frantically at their wrestlers to avoid danger.
First came a quick pin by Casey Lynn on Durango's Gabe Crawford in the 125-pound category that seemed to offer the Panther bench a glimpse of hope.
Jesse Ollier valiantly avoided a pin against Cortez 130-pounder Jesse Blakely but sustained a
10-0 major decision nonetheless after two near falls and a late reversal in the penultimate match.
With the Cortez bench screaming encouragement and his Demon teammates looking on nervously, D.J. Lucero was unable to withstand the offense of Michael Sanders in their exciting 135-pound finale.
After a second-period reversal left the score at 1-6, Sanders fought hard for the team victory, pinning Lucero after a long tussle with 0:55 left in the second period - to the dismay of the stunned home crowd.
"Very frustrating," Durango head coach Doug Cuddie said. "We didn't wrestle well; we didn't stay off our back. We don't wrestle the way we need to wrestle to win, so that's what happened.
"We're young, and we just don't understand what it takes."
In earlier action, Durango's Elliot Salazar lost 16-6 against Bryan Wells after a furious 10-5 final period in their 145-pound match.
Next, Dakota Sutherlin was pinned with 6 seconds remaining in the second by Cortez's Tommy Taylor, who held a 14-3 lead at the time.
Austin Sanders took a forfeit victory from Durango, which took four of their own at 125 pounds, 215 pounds, 285 pounds and 103 pounds, leaving the Demons with a 24-22 lead in the dual-meet team competition.
C.J. Hamby pushed the lead to 30-22 with a pin over Ross Ham in the 112-pound category.
Penning then increased the discrepancy with a clutch pin over Kole Chadwick in the 119-pound weight class.
"Ty beat a good kid," Cuddie said. "He gave us six when we needed it. He stepped up when we needed him, and we need our other seniors to do the same thing."
Durango travels to face Northglenn High School on Friday before taking part in the Northglenn Invitational, which will start at 9 a.m. Saturday.