The Payson High School wrestling team toiling for the first season under new head coach Dave LaMotte made its 2001 debut Wednesday in Wilson dome with a win over Queen Creek and a tie against the Winslow Bulldogs.
Against Queen Creek, the Horns had little trouble lighting up the scoreboard winning 57-15 but against the Winslow Bulldogs, the Horns had to settle for a 40-40 tie.
In a new scoring system that was passed down from the collegiate level, matches no longer begin at the 103-pound division and continue until the heavyweight match is decided.
Before each match is contested, a drawing is held to decide at which weight division the contest will begin. Under the new system, matches could conceivability begin with the heavyweight.
The reasoning behind the change, LaMotte said, is to take the pressure off the lower weight classes to give their team an early lead. Also, the new system takes the pressure off the heavyweights to win when the outcome of the team match is in doubt.
Against Winslow, the match began at the 135-pound level with Larry Wilbanks' pin jump-starting the Horns to a 6-0 lead.
From that point on, that lead seesawed until the 125-pound showdown when Shane Hounshell was pinned. With that Payson loss, Winslow led 40-34.
In the finale, the 130-pound clash, Matt McCarty carded a pin to tie the contest.
Throughout the hard fought contest, LaMotte and his staff shuffled the Horn lineup trying to take advantage of team's strengths and make up for a forfeit in the 103-pound class.
Since the onset of the season, coaches have been unable to uncover an athlete on campus willing to man that position.
If the PHS staff can't find a 103-pounder, the Horns will have to give up six forfeit points in each upcoming dual meet.
In the triumph over outmanned Queen Creek, the Horns rode pins by Shane Hounshell (125), Matt McCarty (130), Zack Lee (145), Cole Newbold (160) and George Coleman (215) to the victory.
Ingo Beck also turned in an impressive win rallying late for an 11-7 victory. Early in the match, Beck trailed 4-1 but then rallied on points scored on takedowns and nearfalls to escape with the win.
Tying Winslow was a sister-kisser for the Longhorns. Because Winslow is a member of the North region, Payson's deadknot doesn't have any affect on the Horns' chances of winning an East title.
Payson, however, has the opportunity to take giant strides towards that crown tomorrow (Wednesday) in Snowflake. Start time is 6:30 p.m. in the Snowflake High gymnasium.
At the onset of the season, LaMotte predicted the Lobos might have the athletes to challenge the Horns' long-time supremacy in the East.
Following the clash in Snowflake, the team returns home for the Rim Country Duals Dec. 14 and 15 in Wilson Dome.