With one match remaining last Friday night at Delta High School, the host Panthers were leading by a slim three points against Paonia.
For Class 2A Paonia to win the annual dual against the Class 3A Panthers, 126-pound sophomore Zeb Etter needed at least a major win over Ayden Tucker.
One minute and one second into the match, with the score tied at 2-2 (a takedown for Delta and a reversal for Paonia), Etter stacked Tucker and won by fall, giving Paonia the 39-36 dual win.
"He gotter done," said Eagles head coach Nate Wiggins. "I told him to go out there and pin him... I guess he's coachable."
The dual also marked the end of the regulation season for both teams. Panthers head coach Clayton Curtis ends the dual season with a 13-4 record; first-year Paonia head coach Nate Wiggins ends the dual season at 14-2.
"We knew it was going to be a close dual, whether there were forfeits or no forfeits," said Curtis, who was disappointed with the loss.
The silver lining for the Panthers was in two wins where they'd lost earlier in the season at the Panther Invitational. At 152, Panther Aiden Barrios, who previously lost by pin against Anthony Felice, won by a 6-1 decision.
"Barrios is an end-of-the-season wrestler," said Curtis of the junior. "He gets better as the season goes on."
In the 152-pound match between senior Brandon Harper of Delta and Paonia junior Grey Neal (32-9), Harper led, 6-1, after a three-point near fall early in the third period. Neal scored four on a reversal/near fall combo, but ran out of time.
Paonia won four matches by pin. At 182, freshman Anthony Miller (21-11), who debuted this week at No. 10 in state rankings, defeated junior Kolby Keller by fall in the second period.
Senior Jaden Miller, who has remained all season at number two in On the Mat state rankings, pinned 14th-ranked Delta sophomore Gauge Lockhart in 2:50. At 106, freshman Reagan Todd won by a 4-1 decision over Panther sophomore Alonso Saenz.
In the shortest match of the night, Eagles senior Clay Campbell won by fall Delta's Brendon Starr in 31 seconds, marking his 35th pin of the season.
With wrestlers out with the flu or at State Choir, Paonia was open at 285, 113, 120, 132, and at 138, where Sackett Chesnik, who is ranked second in the state, would have been favored to win but failed to make weight. "We went with the guys we had," said Wiggins.