Wendy Alexander/The Madera Tribune
The Madera South wrestling coaches jump for joy after 120-pounder Sebastian Moreno records a pin to give the Stallions a 31-30 dual match victory over the Madera Coyotes on Wednesday in Joe Flores Gym.
For the first time since 2009, the Madera South Stallions wrestling team triumphantly exited its match with crosstown rivals Madera after a 31-30 victory to open the County/Metro Athletic Conference dual season.
In the final match of the night, with the Stallions trailing 30-25, 120-pounder Sebastian Moreno needed a pin to give the Stallions their first victory over the Coyotes in six years in Joe Flores Gym on Wednesday.
Trailing for most of the match after Madera’s Rudy Paredes scored two points in the first period and got an escape in the second, Moreno got a takedown later in the period to cut the lead to one.
Moreno recorded an escape with 35 seconds left in the match and then found his opening and pinned Paredes with 15 seconds left. The pin gave the Stallions six points and a one-point victory over the reigning five-time CMAC champions.
“This is a turning point for us, especially for our long-term goals,” Madera South head coach Sal Gonzalez said. “These guys knew we had to get over this hump with Madera and this is the first step to it and then completing it at the league championships. We want to end their streak and elevate our program. We are the program. We work harder than anybody and our kids work hard. This is a good turning point for us.”
“I haven’t been on this side of a match like that,” Madera head coach Joe Romine said. “We’ve won a few that way. They came to wrestle today. They beat us at home. Congrats to them and their program. They work hard.”
For Moreno, there’s more to the story. He was close to getting kicked off the team after being away from the team for three weeks over the break. However, the team voted to let him stay and he repaid his teammate’s faith with the pin.
“He left for three weeks over Christmas break,” Gonzalez said. “I was upset. I knew he was going for a week, but he was gone for all of it. I was going to consequence him, kick him off the team. The team voted to have him wrestle. Things happen for a reason and we bumped him up (from 113-pounds to 120). Even though he was down, he knew what he was capable of doing.”
For Moreno, the win was the highlight of his wrestling career, especially being paraded around on the shoulders of his teammates.
“It feels really good to get the win,” Moreno said. “I was gone for three weeks to visit my mom and to win against Madera High is a big thing. I feel like this is the least I could do for them. I want to be there for them like I know they will be there for me.”
For the Coyotes, Romine knows his team has to rebound quickly if they have a chance at a sixth straight CMAC title.
“Bullard-Fresno is very up this year, Sanger is always tough, but we’re still in position,” he said. “We have to win the league tournament to have a chance at the league title.”
In a tight match, the Coyotes took an early lead when 140-pounder Abraham Del Toro and 145-pounder Moses Contreras recorded pins for an early 18-3 lead.
Augie Garcia broke the Madera streak with a 6-5 decision over Madera’s Josh McMillon at 160-pounds.
Madera South’s Dylan Miracle, at 182 pounds, recorded a pin just 43 seconds into the match for an 18-15 Madera lead with six matches left.
Madera South’s Nathan Chavez recorded a pin at 220 pounds to tie the score at 21 with four matches left.
Madera 285-pounder Isaiah Hernandez recorded a 2-1 win to give the Coyotes a 24-21 lead.
Back to 106 pounds and Madera South’s Carlos Posas picked up an 8-0 major decision for a 25-24 Madera South lead.
At 113 pounds, Madera’s Mario Moreno jumped out to an 8-0 lead before recording a second period pin to give the Coyotes a 30-25 lead.
Paredes recorded a takedown 14 seconds into his match with Sebastian Moreno and then an escape 44 seconds into the second period for a 3-0 lead.
Moreno fought back for a takedown with 25 seconds left in the second. Starting at the bottom in the third period, Moreno worked an escape with 35 seconds left and found an opening and pinned Paredes with 15 seconds left to give Madera South the win.
“I thought I have to come through for my team,” Moreno said. “I just waited for an opportunity. I did what Madera South does best — I kept on grinding and didn’t stop wrestling until the final whistle.”