Issac Martinez knew what he needed to do.
The Moline freshman walked to the mat, facing a 29-20 deficit against Rock Island and the possibility of an upset.
“I felt confident and I just put all the work I could’ve in that,” Martinez said.
It took 4 minutes and 46 seconds for Wharton Field House to explode.
Martinez pinned Jacob Israel in the 113-pound bout, and after Trenton Jackson won by forfeit at 120, Palidin Martinez pinned Alex Gant in 2 minutes, 31 seconds at 126 as the Class 3A, 18th-ranked Maroons clinched a 38-29 triumph over the Rocks on Thursday night.
“He (Martinez) wrestled a phenomenal match,” Maroons coach Nathan Cross said. “I think when the pressure is on, it helped Issac to raise up to a new level and he really took advantage of that.”
Before the opening Western Big Six conference dual, Moline recognized its seniors, who came in fired up.
“We were really excited,” Daniel Terronez said. “I didn’t realize how emotional senior night would be, but we were excited.”
The Maroons (15-1, 1-0 WB6) came out firing on all cylinders as Terronez defeated Dekari Nephew 13-6 at 145 to open up a 15-0 lead after back-to-back pins by Caleb Schnell (132) and Edward Taya (138).
Rock Island (10-5, 0-1) made a comeback by winning seven of the next eight bouts, including a 12-3 major decision by Daveonta Jackson at 285 to give the Rocks their first lead of the evening, 23-20.
“We were happy to stay in it, but sometimes that’s what makes it a bit more bitter,” Rocks coach Joel Stockwell said. “We knew we couldn’t get down on ourselves and not let the crowd decide the meet.”
Despite being down, Cross continued to remain calm, leaning back in his chair in the middle of his first Big Six dual as a Moline coach.
“I’m just kind of Steady Eddy,” said Cross, a former Moline wrestler. “It comes in handy in these type of situations.”
The victory gives the Maroons 15 straight conference dual wins and a bit of confidence.
“We’re coming together more,” Martinez said. “I feel like we can do anything we want to if we put our mind to it.”