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 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 dominated 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.
Catholic took third place with a 60-18 victory against Zachary, minutes after dropping a close 31-29 decision to Rummel in the semifinals.
“If we don’t double forfeit at heavyweight, we win the dual meet,” Catholic coach Tommy Prochaska said. “Our young guys battled, those guys battled, which was good to see.”
Trailing 18-16, Rummel 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 Raiders wrestler to win his match against Brother Martin, when he bested 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.
Prochaska used the weekend to rest many of his starters with one month until the state tournament, scattering backups in his Saturday lineup.
The Bears brought only two starters to the tournament, 126-pounder Josh Matthews and 220-pounder KJ Wilson. Matthews went 3-0 on the day with two pins and a technical fall, while Wilson notched three pins of his own.
Those two starters’ performance personified Prochaska’s optimistic outlook for the remainder of the season, starting Feb. 6 at the Baton Rouge City Championships, where the Bears will look to reclaim the title after Brusly stopped an 11-year streak of Catholic championships last season
“Physically, we’re pretty good right now,” Prochaska said. “Mentally, we have some stuff to fix.
“I think we’ll be OK when it comes down to it.”