With Los Banos and Dos Palos tied at 24 during their wrestling dual Thursday, 113-pounder Jacob Venegas knew he needed points against Ozzie Suarez in the penultimate match. But Suarez quickly jumped out to a 7-1 lead after the first period.
"I came out there a little underexpected, I guess. I wasn't expecting what he was putting out," Venegas said. "Second round I realized what I needed to do, went out there and I got it done."
Venegas chose to start the second round neutral and quickly took Suarez down, then stuck the Dos Palos wrestler's shoulder to the mat. After a 9-1 Riko Quintana win at 120 pounds, LB took home the Noah Dru Moreno trophy with a 33-24 victory.
The Moreno trophy is a four-year-old traveling trophy between the two teams, named for a deceased student who attended junior high school in Los Banos and high school in Dos Palos.
"Me and Riko and Tyler (Felix, 106 pounds) discussed that we knew it was going to be us three in the finals, and we needed those points," Venegas said. "It's definitely a confidence booster, but I have to get better. I shouldn't have let him score all those points to start off."
Venegas pinned Suarez with a move called the Banana Split, using his legs to force one of Suarez's legs up near his face and while forcing his shoulders down.
"It was just there, you know," Venegas said. "He was in the right position. I knew I had to get my points right there."
The dual went back and forth, with Josh Bustamante (3-0 win over Jon Solo at 126 pounds) and Jimmy Felix (7-4 win over Jesus Valdez at 132) giving the Tigers a 6-0 lead. DP's Izzac Suarez defeated Gabe Mendoza to close the gap to 6-3 before Nathan Pimentel pinned LB's Andrew Cintora at 145 to give DP a 9-6 lead. In dual meets, pins are worth 6 team points while victories of 7 or fewer points are worth 3.
Noah Camacho tied it for the Tigers with a 7-6 win over Mike Galindo. DP's Jesus Cardoza and Victor Barron gave DP a 15-9 lead with points victories, which LB's Nathan Vander Poel erased with a fast pin of Dominic DeFrancesco.
DP's Juan Jiminez (6-4 win over Dretel Blackwell) and Santiago Vasquez (late pin of LB's Bailey Rodriguez) put DP on top 24-15 before LB heavyweight Armando Pelayo (pin of Jose Moya just 47 seconds into the match) and Tyler Felix (8-2 win over DP's Anthony Ortega) tied the match once again. That was when Venegas stepped into the spotlight.
Since the creation of the Noah Dru Moreno trophy, Los Banos leads the series 3-1. DP's lone victory came last season.
Following LB's win Wednesday over Pacheco, the Tigers bear an 8-1 dual record this season, with its lone loss coming against Firebaugh.
The Tigers head to the Sac-Joaquin Section team duals tomorrow in Stockton.
"We're looking to go into the finals and then match up with Oakdale," LB coach Josh Adams said. "They've got some issues going on with their team and we're hoping to catch them at some weights. We draw it out on paper and we're right there in the middle of things, and we get some breaks and swing matches our way and we're in the hunt."