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Wednesday, Feb 05 2014 10:57 PM

Foothill rallies past Highland, 41-29

BY STEPHEN LYNCH Special to The Californian

Bigger was better for the Foothill wrestling team in its Southeast Yosemite League showdown against Highland on Wednesday night.

The Trojans got back-to-back pins from 220-pounder Joe Gonzalez and heavyweight David Bautista to help overcome an early 18-4 deficit and beat the visiting Scots 41-29.

The victory capped an undefeated SEYL season for Foothill, which won eight of 14 matches including five by pin.

"It was pretty huge," Gonzalez said of the team win. "We heard they were talking a bunch of mess about us so we tried to come out here and beat them up."

Highland started with wins by fall in three of its first four matches to jump out to an early lead.

But after Antonio Perez (138), Jesus Arreola (145) and PJ Martinez (160) recorded pins for the Scots, Foothill came storming back, winning six of the next eight matches.

"We had a tough night," Highland coach Paul Gonzales said. "We had one of my starters (220-pounder Christian Garcia) out today. I think with him in the lineup it would have been a little bit tighter on the score. But we were rolling straight through for the first half and then in the second half we weren't able to pull it through."

Juan Chocoteco (170) started the Trojans onslaught by pinning Eian Snella in just 55 seconds.

Later, Gonzalez tied things up with a pin at the 5:43 mark of his bout against Eric Saavedra.

Soon afterward, Bautista pinned Faris Akroush midway through their 285-pound tilt, giving Foothill the lead for good.

"I just stayed focus," Bautista said. "I just kind of waited him out. Waited until he broke. Some time during the match he broke and that's when I attacked."

Fernando Perez (113) and Alberto Escalara (120) also won by fall for Foothill, which now needs to just finish ahead of Highland by one place during the SEYL Championships to win a fifth straight league title.

Foothill coach Brad Hull said his team was extremely motivated against Highland and that he wasn't that concerned about falling behind early to the Scots.

"We're a young team in terms of varsity experience," Hull said. "And that's right where we happened to draw the (138-pound) weight class (to start the dual). At (138), 152, 160, some of those are where we're real young. We knew that we just had to weather the storm and just keep everyone calm. Don't get caught up in the momentum because we knew our hammers were coming later."

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