WATSON — In Brother Martin coach Robert Dauterive’s mind, six matches were crucial at Saturday’s Live Oak Duals.
Though other big-name schools in the 16-team field gave some of their starters a weekend off, Dauterive brought his full Crusaders lineup to sew up a few seedings in those six matches in advance of the state tournament.
“We won all six,” Dauterive said. “We didn’t have a starter lose the whole tournament.
The three-time defending Division I state champion Crusaders overwhelmed the field, taking the team title with a 70-4 win against Rummel in the final — a dual meet where Brother Martin lost only one match.
Aside from decisions at 120 and 170 and a loss at 106, every Crusaders wrestler notched bonus points in the finals against the Raiders, either by pin or a major decision of eight or more points.
“We’ve got to show up and wrestle harder,” Rummel coach Jon Orillion said of his team, which had only eight starters in the finals against Brother Martin. “Whoever’s in there, we still have to wrestle harder.”
The Raiders got to the final after squeaking out a 31-29 win against Catholic, where freshmen came up big in securing the win.
Trailing 18-16, freshman 106-pounder Blake Mateu pinned Catholic’s MJ Coates, Jr. to start a string of three consecutive victories that gave the Raiders a 10-point advantage.
Mateu, named the outstanding wrestler for the lower weight classes, was also the only Raider wrestler to win his match against Brother Martin, when he beat Daniel Varnado 12-3.
Clinging to a five-point lead headed into the final match, Raiders freshman Dylan Hezeau battled Catholic junior Tristan Williams to an 8-4 decision. Though Hezeau lost the match, it only cost the Raiders three team points, preserving the victory.
“It was good to see that,” Orillion said. “Good to see we could battle hard. Fourteen guys went up there and battled hard, pulled that out and put ourselves in the finals. We came here to wrestle in the finals. Glad to see us in there.”
Now with the seeds solidified for Brother Martin, Dauterive said he’ll give his starters the next weekend off before state tournament preparations kick in.
“I think all the teams are like us,” Dauterive said. “Everyone’s a little banged up. We’ll play it by ear, but I think my guys are ready for the state tournament.”