By Bill Tamburrino
“It was a classic smash-mouth brawl,” said wrestling coach Steve Koch after his grapplers beat Valley Center 45-24 in the Valley League opener.
“Both schools like to get after it and we beat them in their gym. Valley Center is a good team with good wrestlers. Our pre-season schedule helped us get ready for that caliber of competition,” Koch said.
Ramona and Valley Center were ranked one and two in the pre-season predictions and the two squads wrestled like league contenders.
The match started out with the 220 bout between Zach Berg and Matt McCeghren. Berg won by fall in the third period in a very physical bout.
Trae Rodriguez then took the mat in the heavyweight bout and followed suit with a pin of his own over Lorenzo Gomez to give RHS a 12-0 lead.
Noah Lagoe (106) lost a tough decision to Armando Rodriguez in another hotly contested bout. The final score was 10-9.
Logan White (113) lost by fall to Jorge Beltran and Valley Center was back in the match, trailing 12-9.
Vince Adair and Dustin Miller locked up in a hard fought bout in the 120 pound class and Miller came out on top with a 6-4 decision and the match was tied at 12 after five bouts.
Martin Dower (126) got Ramona back on the winning track with a 12-5 decision over Trevor Rybec to give the Dawgs a lead that they would not relinquish.
Kevin Conroy (132) won by default to give the Dawgs a 21-12 lead at the halfway mark in the match.
Jake Ohnysty wrestled well against Christian Guerrero (138) but lost a 4-3 decision. Isaiah Ilich lost a controversial triple overtime bout to Adam Garcia. Ilich had five penalty points called against him in the bout. Ilich and Garcia are both ranked in the top five wrestlers in the section and they will meet again more than once before the season ends.
Valley Center trailed 21-18 and appeared to have the momentum on its side. Troy Jordan (152) stopped the momentum with a second period pin over Dakota Cole.
Alex Gomez (160) added 6 team points to the cause with a default victory and the Dawgs led 33-18.
Jacob Grybow (170) lost by fall to Cody Silva and Valley Center still had a shot at winning with the score 33-24.
Noe Hernandez ensured the victory with a second period pin over Garrett Castner in the 182 bout and the Dawgs led 39-24 with one bout remaining.
Josh Allen ended the match with a pin over Jairo Diaz in the second period.
“That win puts us in the driver’s seat in the Valley League but it does not guarantee us a league title. We still have to beat some pretty good teams. If we wrestle like we did against Valley Center, I like our chances,” stated Koch.