With a combined absence of six varsity wrestlers, the Moffat County High School/Delta dual Friday wasn't a complete match-up of the top- and fifth-ranked teams in Class 4A.
But there were still some competitive matches in the Bulldog's 39-22 win.
As far as points earned for matches wrestled, each team scored 15 points, while the Panthers actually won more matches -- five -- than the Bulldogs' four.
"Some of us didn't wrestle the way we can," said Moffat County coach Roman Gutierrez. "We had a hard time on the bottom and were a little sluggish on our feet."
Seniors Trevor Sloan (215) and Brandon Duarte (171), sophomore Eric Fredrickson (112) and junior Kaleb Brown (135) scored wins for the Bulldogs.
While Duarte earned the only pin of the match, Sloan's win may have been the most significant for the blue and white.
In his career, Sloan was 1-2 against Delta's James Schaeffer. After a battle back and forth in the neutral position in the first period, with Schaeffer earning a take down and Sloan an escape, the second period belonged to the red-headed Bulldog. He scored twice with near fall points and took a 7-2 lead and would hold out in the third period for a 7-4 win.
"(Schaeffer) was really quick on his feet," Sloan said. "So once we got into the second period, I wanted to keep him down and wrestle him smart and was able to get the Mills on him and earn some big points."
Schaffer and his teammates will return to Craig next weekend for the regional tournament but a Sloan/Schaffer showdown is not likely as the MCHS senior will most likely move up to heavyweight for the post-season. That leaves sophomore Scott Garoutte to take on the quick big man from Delta.
"I would tell Scott to be aware and quick on his feet," Sloan said. "To beat him, he needs to wrestle smart."
Fredrickson and Brown kept their matches close with a 5-4 win for the sophomore and an overtime win for the junior.
"I felt like I was going to black out in the third period," said Brown, who was overweight Thursday and didn't eat much Friday before the match. "I just wanted to get it over with as soon as I could in the overtime because I was exhausted."
While Bryan Hampton didn't win against second-ranked Derek Brewer in the 119 class, a 2-0 loss was a highlight for Gutierrez.
"Bryan took their kid to the final period without allowing him to score," he said. "That has to be a confidence builder for him going into regionals."
This week, the Bulldogs will try to hone their skills before the state qualifier at home Friday and Saturday. After an up-and-down couple of weeks, Gutierrez hopes his boys are ready.
"We need to get more sharp," he said. "It is to our advantage to be at home, I just hope the Bulldogs I know show up to the tournament."
David Pressgrove can be reached at 824-7031 or firstname.lastname@example.org.