The Del Norte High wrestling team found its back against the wall early in its dual meet against McKinleyville High, held at Del Norte High School on Wednesday night.
With two early forfeits against them, the Warriors put Panthers wrestlers' backs on the mat in the middle weight classes.
Ten of the 11 contested matches were ultimately decided by falls, but McKinleyville walked away with a 45-30 victory over Del Norte.
"I think we didn't wrestle badly. We wrestled well," Warriors head coach Aaron Schaad said. "It's all minor adjustments right now. The technique's there for the kids."
Holes in the Del Norte lineup didn't help matters. The match began at the 182-pound weight class, which both teams forfeited. McKinleyville used its advantage in the lower weight classes to build a 42-6 lead before the Warriors' strongest wrestlers took to the mat.
Del Norte's Robert Boulby faced off against McKinleyville's David Poston at 145 pounds in the lone match decided by points. Poston recorded two early takedowns in the first period to build up a 4-0 lead, but Boulby inched back to within one point, 6-5, early in the third period after a takedown.
Poston escaped from Boulby at the 5:42 mark of the match for a two-point advantage and Boulby could not take Poston down in the time remaining, losing 7-6.
Del Norte wrestlers David Plechaty (195 pounds), Eric Turner (170), Jackson Evans (152) and Skiler Haddad (138) each pinned their opponents, all in the first period. Turner pinned the Panthers' Bique Razo in 35 seconds; Haddad took down McKinleyville's Abel Melecio in 36 seconds.
"Haddad came out with pistols blazing, right after that kid," Schaad said.
The Warriors also scored six points when the Panthers forfeited the 160-pound weight class against Hawk Mattz.
Schaad was quick to note the performance of sophomore Kaleb Hurley at 132 pounds. Hurley fell behind to McKinleyville's Jack Norton 5-0 in the first period but wrestled Norton strongly into the third period. Norton beat Hurley by fall in 4:30.
"I was really impressed with Hurley," Schaad said. "He wrestled as good as he's wrestled (all season)."
Nicole Mattz (113 pounds), Justin Schrader (120) Wyatt Duncan (126), and Cristian Puente (heavyweight) also competed for Del Norte. All four lost their matches by fall.
Before facing Del Norte, McKinleyville competed against visiting Hoopa in a dual meet, winning 46-24.
Most of the Warriors will travel to Ukiah for a wrestling tournament today. Nicole Mattz is competing at the CIF North Coast Section girls' wrestling championships in Pittsburg.
Reach Robert Husseman at firstname.lastname@example.org.