Since Carson and Douglas have a history of waging some exciting wrestling matches, it wasn't surprising to see the arch rivals battle back and forth Saturday for the championship of Carson's fifth annual Capital City Duals.
Douglas won four of five matches in the middle weight classes to take control en route to a 37-29 victory in the finals of the 10-team tournament at Morse Burley Gymnasium.
"Wow. That's all I can say is wow," Douglas coach Mike Gamberg said. "These kids are unreal. They impress me every day. For us to start the season off the way we have, I'm very pleased."
That verdict snapped Carson's 28-match win streak, dating back to Dec. 2, 2000. The last previous loss came at the hands of Sparks in the finals of the 2000 Capital City Duals. One of the closest calls during that stretch came in 2001 when the Senators beat the Tigers, 33-27, on a pin in the final minute of the heavyweight match.
Oh, and by the way, Carson had a 32-match streak end in 1988 when Douglas won, 28-27.
The Senators were at a disadvantage this time, however, due to a knee injury sustained by heavyweight Mike Moore earlier in the day. With Moore out, Schmanski bumped his wrestlers up one weight class from 140 pounds on up.
"We had to bump everybody up a weight because of Moore's injury and we had one individual who didn't make weight," Carson coach Dean Schmanski said. "We had a forfeit at 35s, so we gave up six points there, otherwise we would have had to forfeit at heavyweight as well, and I didn't want to give up 12 points."
Individually, the competition was every bit as close as the final score suggested. Maybe closer, considering the Tigers won three matches by one-point decisions.
Bradley Johnson scored an escape late in the third period to pull out a 3-2 win over Sergio Calvillo in the 130-pound match, a win that put the Tigers on top 13-11 in the team score column.
Two pivotal matches were waged back-to-back in the 160- and 171-pound matches.
First, Ray Gabriel came from behind to edge Micah Whitcome 4-3 at 160 pounds. Whitcome took an early lead, but Gabriel came back and broke a 3-3 tie with a reversal in the final minute.
Then, in a wild back-and-forth affair, Grant Hall outlasted Chris Ceccarelli 11-10. Hall broke a 6-6 tie with a reversal and near fall at the outset of the third round and then he held on the rest of the win to pick up a win that put Douglas on top, 31-20.
Dan Molina clinched the victory for Douglas when he pinned Antonio Nunez at 1:07 in the 189-pound bout.
Earlier, Douglas junior C.J. Keith pinned Paul Carter at 145 pounds in a match that showcased two place finishers from the 4A state tournament last season. Carter was leading 5-4 in the second period when Keith saw an opening and threw Carter for a takedown that led to the pin.
Chandler Brown had just given the Senators a lift when he came from behind to pin Roger Pattison in the 140-pound bout. Pattison was leading 3-0 in the second period when Brown executed a fireman's carry for a takedown that resulted in his pin with five seconds left in the period. Brown's win cut the Douglas lead to 19-17 at the time.
Loren Wooldridge came up with a big win for Carson at 152 pounds when he took a 9-0 lead and then held on to defeat A.G. Reed, 9-7.
Carson's Eric Aguilera won the 112-pound match by a 15-0 technical fall over Ryan Martinez in a meeting between state tournament qualifiers from last season. Tyler Preston picked up another big win for the Senators when he pinned state tournament veteran Austin Beemer in 1:11. The Senators finished the meet with two wins as 215-pounder Allen Wooldridge decisioned DeWayne Rey 11-6 and heavyweight Nick Shine pinned Dan McDonald.
Brian Kaplan gave Douglas an early 6-0 lead when he pinned Mark Graham at 4:52 of the 103-pound match.
"That was an excellent match," Schmanski said. "This is a good lesson for us early, now we can get going on the rest of the season. "
Livingston (Calif.) defeated Wooster in the third-place match 45-31, Galena defeated Reno for fifth-place 48-27 and Spanish Springs defeated Reed for seventh-place 58-18.