Las Vegas -- Going into the finals of the Green Valley Duals, the Moffat County High School wrestling team knew it was going to take a massive team effort to defeat Temecula Valley, Calif.
What they didn't know was that their massive wrestler would be the one to seal the win.
The Bulldogs took the dual and the title from Temecula Valley, 38-36, but the title was secured for the Bulldogs after heavyweight Kyle Fredrickson pinned Temecula's Jordan Blanchard to give the Bulldogs a 14-point lead with two matches remaining. The most points The Golden Bears could score the rest of the dual were 12 -- which they did -- and the heavyweight helped the Bulldogs defeat the only team that had given them a loss in two years.
"I expected the glory to go to the middle weights, and no way thought I would be the hero," Fredrickson said. "I had made some mistakes all day, and I was frustrated with my wrestling. The win made up for it by a long shot."
Fredrickson trailed after the first period 2-0. In the second period, the tide turned when Blanchard was injured after Fredrickson turned him on his back. At that point, the Moffat County Junior had taken an 8-4 lead with a reversal and six back points.
"(Coach) Roman (Gutierrez) told me before the match he knew I was better than I had shown today in my two losses," the junior said. "It helped me focus."
In the third period, Fredrickson finished off Blanchard with a half nelson and the Bulldogs went crazy on the side of the mat.
"To come back like that after a tough match it was amazing," Gutierrez said. "Freddy was a surprising hero for us."
Temecula defeated the Bulldogs in 2001 at the same tournament. That defeat came against a team that is considered the best in Moffat County history and at the time was ranked in the top-10 in the nation.
"We were more aware of them this time," said junior Brent Chamberlain (189), one of two wrestlers on this year's team who were on the 2001 trip. "This year they weren't going to sneak up on us because we knew about them."
After a 40-28 win against Pine View and a 57-12 defeat of Green valley Moffat County set up a final match with the Golden Bears who had easily dfeated Montrose and Cimmaron Mountain, Nev.
The Bulldogs made sure that the Golden Bears knew who they were right away as the first four in blue and white stuck their opponents.
In all four of those matches Eric Fredrickson (119), Deric Dill (125), Jesse Brookshire (130) and Korey Kostur (135) took a 2-0 lead into the second period and then put their opponents on their backs for the pin.
"That had to be intimidating to be down 24-0," Gutierrez said. "But Temecula is a championship team and we knew they weren't done."
The Grizzly wrestlers took two close matches against Kaleb Brown (140), 6-4 in overtime, and Jason Mosher (145), 7-5.
The momentum started to swing from the Bulldogs side as Dale Owens (152) was pinned. Senior Charlie Martinez (160) worked his opponent but was unable to get the pin but earned a valuable three points for the Bulldogs. Juniors Shayne Zimmerman (171) and Brent Chamberlain (189) were then pinned and what was once a 24-point lead was a narrow 27-24 lead.
"Each wrestler knew his role on that team," Gutierrez said about the opponent. "They knew which guys should win and they went out there with that confidence during the heavyweights."
Junior Scott Garoutte finished off his undefeated weekend with a technical fall,19-4. The five points he earned gave the Bulldogs a little more breathing room with a 32-24 lead, but the Golden Bears were still within striking distance. Then came 'Big Freddy's' win and a seal of the dual.
"There was no sweeter way to start the season then to get this win," Brookshire said. "If we wrestle like this the rest of the season we can take state."
While the Bulldogs spoke of how much of a confidence booster the tournament win was, they are aware of the work that needs to be done these next few weeks.
"Our upper weights need to get better," Gutierrez said. "They need to get more discipline and confidence."
From 152's on up the Bulldogs went 8-10 Saturday in the three duals. Three of those wins came from Garoutte. In contrast the lower eight classes went 19-5 Saturday.
"Shayne and Brent gave up weight to guys this weekend and plan to move down," Gutierrez said. "But regardless, we need to get some work in."
Despite some struggles fro the latter part of the line up the Bulldogs picked up the championship trophy, one which was too big to take back on the plane, and everybody was pumped about the start of the season.
"I don't even know what to say right now," Kostur said. "People doubted this team a little bit because of who we graduated, but this win gives us the confidence that can defend our state titles."
David Pressgrove can be reached at 824-7031 or firstname.lastname@example.org