On Senior Night at the Durango High School gym Friday, it was the Montrose Indians who seemed right at home in their 51-13 dual victory.
"It was really a comfortable dual for us," said Montrose head coach Jack Garrison, bolstered by the many supporters who traveled to support the Indians. "I thought the kids did a lot of good things."
"They take some guys with them," said Durango head coach Doug Cuddie of the Montrose faithful. "Hey, that's where their program started a long time ago, and that's where they're at now. Hopefully in four or five years, we'll be in the same spot."
Fifth-ranked Erik Stucky set the tone for the Indians, beating Dakota Sutherlin at 145 pounds in the night's first match.
"When you start at the middle of our lineup, that's our strength. (One hundred and forty-five) through 215 is our real strength," Garrison said.
Stucky, a senior, gained a quick 6-0 lead in the opening seconds that he would lean on for the rest of the match, gaining two more near falls in the second on his way to an 11-1 final.
Cade Garrison raced to a first-period technical fall over Durango's Brandon Stagner at 152 pounds.
Montrose's Braxton Franz followed suit early in the second period of his 160-pound match with Trent Scott, scoring a pin.
In a showdown of two ranked wrestlers at 189, Jordan Passehl pinned Durango's Justin Whirlow with 30 seconds remaining in the first period.
"Justin wrestled a good kid," said Cuddie. "That's all there is to it. He could've wrestled better for sure, but (Passehl)'s a good kid."
At 215, Brandon Franklin got the better of his tussle with Durango's Tyler Scott, forcing the action and winning 6-2.
In one of the most tightly contested matches of the night, Montrose freshman Geordon Hudson held on for a 10-5 win in the first overtime period of his 103-pound match.
Rudy Peterson took an early 2-0 lead on a takedown, rallying the Durango faithful, and extended his advantage to 4-1 after a takedown early in the third period. But Hudson held strong, recovering with a takedown and then tying it on another takedown near the end of the period after a Peterson escape.
A quick takedown and three back points in the overtime period gave Montrose the win.
"I thought our 103 (pounder) did a hell of a job," Garrison said. "Peterson's tough. He's a tough, physical kid, and we only beat him by two points last time. We sucked it up in overtime and won it coming from behind. I like to see stuff like that."
Drew Schumann beat C.J. Hamby 8-5. Hamby appeared to injure his leg early in the first period, but fought through the pain to keep it close.
Durango 119-pound senior Ty Penning, ranked third in the state, beat 16th-ranked sophomore Kyle Rogers 12-0 for the Demons' first win.
"Ty Penning is wrestling as well as anybody in the state," Cuddy said. "Next week's a big week for him, going to Regionals, so we're looking forward to that."
Cuddie pointed to the efforts of Penning's parents, honored on Senior Night at the DHS gym before the match, as a key influence in Penning's success.
"They've done a lot of work with him, and they've taken him a lot of places to wrestle," Cuddie said. "It helps to have a kid like that on your team, so the other guys can look to him to see what he's doing and what he's done in the past."
Montrose's Max Milner edged Jesse Ollier in a low-scoring affair at 125 pounds, 2-1. The match was tied at 0-0 until Milner scored on a reversal with a minute left in the third period.
Elliott Salazar had Durango's only other victory in his 130-pound match, winning 4-3 after an escape late in the second and a tense, scoreless third period.
"Elliott Salazar had a good win. (He) wrestled a pretty decent kid and he actually wrestled for 6 minutes. That's why he won."
Montrose's Nick Bailey finished off the night the way the Indians started it, pinning James Ouellette with just 17 seconds remaining in the first.
Durango's Cory Prentice took a forfeit at 140 pounds, as did Montrose 171-pounder Clancy Garoutte and 285-pounder Casey Childs.
"Montrose is tough," said Cuddie. "They wrestle hard. They wrestle for 6 minutes, whereas sometimes we don't. You don't mind losing to a team who wrestles like that. We hope to be there soon."
Durango hosts Fruita Monument at the DHS gym today at 10 a.m. The meet is the final regular-season dual before the Demons wrestle at Legacy High School in Regionals.
Youth wrestling signup will be available prior to the meet.