Tue, Mar 08 2011 01:58 PM Posted By: Phillip Brents
The Eastlake Titans and Otay Ranch Mustangs saved the best for last as this year’s Mesa League championship dual meet pitted a pair of undefeated teams. The Titans came out on top with a somewhat deceiving 35-22 victory, deceiving in that the match-ups on the mat were a lot closer than the final score indicated.
"We knew it was going down to the wire," EHS coach Dean Tropp said. "They had their studs and we had our studs. The thing I’m most proud of is that we didn’t give up any pins."
Indeed. The Titans won eight of the 14 match-ups, recording three falls. The Mustangs won six bouts, however, none by pin.
Otay Ranch’s strategy was to win the first four matches and the hosts nearly pulled that off as Marcos Santana (105 pounds) won by a 10-2 major decision, Tommy Espinoza (114) won by a 19-2 technical fall and Victor Garcia (121) won by a 4-1 decision. The three wins gave the Mustangs an early 12-0 lead. But it wasn’t enough.
Otay Ranch gambled by moving state qualifier Eddie Estevez up to meet Eastlake’s Mathias Mendillo at 127 pounds. It didn’t pan out as hoped. While Estevez quickly racked up a 5-1 lead, Mendillo managed to pick up Estevez at one point and threw him to the mat. Mendillo had the upper hand after that in recording an 11-6 victory. It was the first of four consecutive wins by the visitors.
The Titans won the next three matches as Abraham Sanchez (132) recorded a pin in 1:59, Esteban Baez (137) won by an 8-0 major decision and Casey Stanko (142) delivered a key 8-2 win.
The Mustangs rallied as Albert Lopez (147) scored an 8-0 major decision and Cody Springsguth (154) captured an 8-6 decision in overtime. But neither could pin his opponent, leaving the hosts with a 19-16 lead heading into another run of strength for the visitors.
Steve Cervantes (162) won by a 1:51 fall and teammate Gabriel Nelson (173) followed with a dominating 12-1 major decision. When Alex Gil (191) pinned Larae Butler in 3:50, the Titans had an insurmountable 32-19 lead with two matches remaining.
Otay’s Ricky Montes made it a 10-point spread (32-22) with an 8-6 OT win at 217 pounds. But in the climactic heavyweight bout, Eastlake’s Gabe Casillas captured a 5-4 win on a last second stalling call against Jon Henkel.
"It was a really good match," ORHS coach Troy Vierra said. "Things didn’t go our way but could have. We knew we had to pin with our main guys and we knew we also had to get a win in the heavyweight match."
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