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Yuba City wrestling edges rival River Valley
Honkers, Falcons display friendly rivalry
There weren't any back-and-forth chants, taunting was nonexistent and signs didn't hang from the rafters — this version of the River Valley-Yuba City High rivalry doesn't need any of that.
The two schools' wrestling programs have adopted a phrase for when they go to tournaments — "One city, one team."
Whether it's in Wheatland, Lincoln, or Reno, Nev., the Honkers and Falcons always do everything together. River Valley coach Ron Benton provides lunch for wrestlers from both schools, while Yuba City coach Erik Lambert, also an athletic trainer, takes care of any injuries.
The two schools will even map out their schedules to attend the same tournaments and split the cost.
"There's no animosity between the two programs," Lambert said. "But when we compete against each other, it gets pretty fierce."
Tuesday night's Tri-County Conference finale was a prime example of that as the Honkers and Falcons took to the mat at Falcon Gymnasium on Senior Night for both programs.
Yuba City held off River Valley for the 31-29 dual meet victory to finish the TCC season at 3-2, while RV ended the conference slate at 0-5.
Both teams have been battling injuries this season, a big reason why they're both on the outside looking in on this weekend's Sac-Joaquin Section team championships.
That didn't mean the two programs weren't throwing everything they had at each other on Tuesday in a tightly contested dual throughout.
The biggest win on the night for Yuba City came in the 172-pound bout. With his team trying to add to a 19-16 lead, Aaron Shippelhoute pinned River Valley's Gurshaun Clar to extend the Honkers' lead to 25-16.
"It was a huge pin," Lambert said "Aaron's been in the room every day this year and works his butt off. He fills in spots wherever we need him ... that was a big win for us.
"That ended up being the difference."
Logan Morace (184) and Jordan Davis (197) each closed out the match with victories for River Valley, but couldn't close the gap.
Morace took down Cody McMahon in a 6-1 decision to make it 25-19 Honkers and Davis bested Westley McMahon to cut the lead to 25-23.
Each team forfeited one of its final two matches, resulting in the 31-29 final score.
"We've had some ups and downs this year so it's nice to end league with a win," Lambert said. "We're a really young team. It's always good to end on a good note like that."
River Valley jumped out to a 4-0 lead to begin the match after Harlan Shelton won his 108s bout in a 12-2 major decision. After both teams forfeited the 115-pound match, Yuba City 122-pounder Marcus Sillas defeated Carlos Robles in 10-3 decision to make it 4-3 Falcons.
Yuba City's Isaac Bishop pinned Skyler Marsh in the 128-pound bout and River Valley's Dalton Dazo edged Lupe HIll in a 7-4 decision to set the score at 9-7 in favor of Yuba City.
The Falcons reclaimed a 10-9 lead after an overtime victory by Chance Perez over Thomas Bishop. Perez picked up a takedown in overtime to edge Bishop for an 8-6 decision.
The Honkers rattled off consecutive victories after that by Greg Ferguson (147), who pinned Chris Hansen, and Adam Thornton, who recorded a 16-3 major decision victory.
In the most impressive win of the night, RV's 162-pounder Timmy Webb pinned Chandler Wilkerson in 37 seconds to put up six points.
Nights like Tuesday are tough for Benton because he has coached kids from both sides of the mat since they were in middle school.
In the pregame festivities, the seniors from both schools were escorted to the center of the mat by family members.
Most of the matches ended with combatants hugging each other and the coaches from both teams.
For these wrestling programs, when the headgear is off, everybody's family.
"We all know each other really well," Benton said. "It's unfortunate that we're not just one big school."