by: Patty Paul, Sandy’s Brad Topliff goes for the pin vs. the Eagles’ Obie Schwartzel.

Trailing 35-10 vs. visiting Hood River on Dec. 7, Sandy needed some hope.

Hope came briefly in the form of a Hood River forfeit, as the Eagles didn't have anyone in Garrett Cartner's weight class (152).

After the forfeit, the Pioneers were down by a significant - albeit somewhat surmountable - deficit of 35-16.

But Hood River kept laying on the hurt, and there wasn't a whole lot an inexperienced Pioneers squad could do about it.

Sandy displayed a lot of resilience, though, and that resilience was definitely on display during the initial moments of senior Joe Mafara's match with Lucas Mondragon.

The raw Mafara - who had taken some time off from wrestling prior to this year - exploded back onto the mat vs. Mondragon, recording a 2-point reversal and a 1-point escape in Round 1.

But after a fast start, Mafara eventually succumbed to Mondragon, who secured his victory with a 2-point reversal in Round 2.

'I think our guys were pretty aggressive,' Sandy coach Robert Paul said. 'We were coming in too hard.'

That might have been the case when senior Chris Krieger - arguably Sandy's top wrestler - faced Hood River's Gage Morris. Morris' margin of victory over Krieger was 18-2, and that included several 2-point takedowns.

But it took Morris a full three rounds to put the finishing touches on Krieger, who fought back admirably.

Ultimately, though, the upright Krieger couldn't match Morris' low point of attack.

'(Krieger) was too tall, his elbows were out,' Paul said.

Paul wasn't down on his young, developing team, though, and he was optimistic when asked about the night's results.

'We'll get better,' he said. 'All these matches are practices - we've got to build for the future.'

The future may be now for Hood River, which fed off of Morris' impressive showing to register a 62-16 win.

'We were happy with our performance,' Eagles coach Rich Polkinghorn said. 'We wanted to send a message that we're back in the Mount Hood Conference.'

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