It took the seldom-used criteria of "greatest number of points on falls" to solve a 36-36 tie involving the Payson and Greenway High School wrestling teams.
In a four-way meet Jan. 14 at Greenway, the battle between the Horns and Greenway ended in a tie. Meet officials decided to use the "most points" rule to determine a match winner.
Because Greenway wrestlers recorded five falls (30 points) and Payson had just two wins on pins (12 points), the hosts were declared the winners.
According to former PHS coach and team founder Dennis Pirch, the "most points" criteria can be used to determine winners, but in past years the results of dual matches with like scores often remained ties.
In the Longhorns' other dual matches, Payson defeated Thunderbird 27-15 and Buckeye 24-17.
The big winners in the day-long competition were the Longhorns two undefeated wrestlers -- Larry Wilbanks (160) and Nate Lee (171).
Wilbanks continued his quest to be the best 160-pounder in the state by winning two matches on falls and another by a 20-5 technical fall.
In the TF, Wilbanks called upon his strategy of racking up two-point takedowns and willingly giving up one-point escapes. In less than three periods, he scored 14 points on seven takedowns. Allowing five escapes, he gave up just five points. His strategy produced a nine-point differential. Wilbanks also scored two near falls in the victory.
Lee, a junior who's on track to become Payson's first four-time state champion, won all three of his matches by falls. None of the matches went past the second period.
Almost equally impressive as the two Longhorn veterans was freshman Porter Wilbanks (103) -- the younger brother of Larry.
Porter contributed 18 points to the cause by recording three pins. It was the first time this season that the first-year varsity wrestler has won a trio of consecutive matches by falls.
The rookie's biggest challenge came against a Thunderbird foe. The two battled toe-to-toe until late in the third period when Wilbanks, who was clinging to a 7-5 lead at the time, used a leg hold for the pin.
"I scissored his chest," Porter said. "I don't think he could breath."
Payson's David Cluff (135) turned in a commendable team effort winning two matches on falls. Another victory came with a hard-fought 8-7 decision over a Greenway opponent.
Trailing 7-5 early in the third period, Cluff scored three points on a takedown and escape to record the win. Sophomore Tyler Goodman (112) won a forfeit and a fall before suffering a heartbreaking 8-6 overtime loss to a Thunderbird wrestler.
Trailing 6-1 in the third period, Goodman scored five consecutive points to tie the match and force the overtime. The T-Bird wrestler scored the winning points on a takedown.
Among the other thrillers in the four-way showdown was senior Adam Munson's (heavyweight) 3-2 win against Thunderbird.
With the Horns trailing 27-15 and in dire need of a boost, Munson muscled his way to a trio of third-quarter tallies to escape with the one-point win. His three team points closed the Thunderbird lead to 27-15 and set the stage for a late Horn rally that led to the narrow win.
Following Munson's heroics, the Horns outscored the T-Birds 21-5.
Lee Perez (130) won two matches by falls, but lost another by a fall in the first period when he was leading 5-4.
The Longhorns return to the mat tomorrow (Wednesday) in a Grand Canyon region meet to be at Mingus Cottonwood High School. The match begins at 1 p.m.