DIXON – Curtis Lilly reached a milestone and Sterling reigned as a team, but that's not what a majority of the fans who attended the wrestling match in Dixon came to see Tuesday night.
It was to see the team's coaches, Charlie Bishop of Sterling and Chris Bishop of Dixon, squeeze into singlets to see who the top brother was in 2013.
For the second consecutive year the Bishops, both stars at Dixon more than a decade ago, took to the mat for a family battle royale. In 2012, Charlie won a memorable 14-13 victory. This time around, it was Chris who earned bragging rights with a 6-5 decision.
The match was equal parts show and showing they still have their wrestling chops. At the end of the second period, Charlie went to the Sterling sideline, apparently exhausted, then picked up his 106-pounder, Jaden Urrutia, for a few bench presses over his head.
Not be outdone, Chris went to the sideline and did the same thing with Charlie's 2-year-old daughter, Cecelia, much to the delight of the crowd.
Chris escaped to begin the third period to take a 6-5 lead, then deftly extricated himself from a pair of single-leg takedown attempts in the final minute to preserve the victory.
"We came out and gave a show, but we were getting after it," Chris Bishop said. "We weren't out there just running around, playing ring around the rosey. We were going after each other."
"It's exciting for the fans, and that's why we do it, for the audience," Charlie Bishop added. "The kids are over there cheering. They get to go in the coach's corner for once. It's a different light they get to see us in, and it's just something we have a lot of fun with."
As for the match between the coach's teams, Sterling prevailed 50-23. The most significant bout was at heavyweight, where Lilly won by pin in 1 minute 38 seconds against Dixon's Josh Musgrove. It was the 100th career win for Lilly, and he's the 24th wrestler in school history to hit that mark.
"I've been looking forward to this since I was a freshman," Lilly said. "I just worked hard, got the wins that I needed, and now I can try to get to the top of the win club. I don't know if I can get there, but I'll try to keep on winning from here on out."
Jaden Urrutia (106), Isaac Anderson (113), Zack DePuy (120) and John Hardey (132) also gained wins for Sterling, which also received four forfeits.
"We were definitely the top dog coming in," Charlie Bishop said, "but still, guys have to wrestle hard and get ready for the regional coming up, and that was our focus."
Dixon got off to a good start as Brenan Chacon won an overtime decision against Nick Terronez at 145, then Trent Scott outlasted Riley Cronwell 10-9 in a wild bout at 182.
Brittany Schwarz won by technical fall over Mikayla Lilly at 126 in a rare all-female bout, and Kylian Lally finished off the night with a pin of Angel Pereda at 138.
It's been a rough year for the Dukes, with just one dual win against North Boone, but Chris Bishop was pleased with the team's effort against Sterling.
"We knew they were a good team," Chris Bishop said, "but I just wanted to see the guys fight and scrap, and that's what they did. Even some of the guys that were wrestling some of their better kids, they went out and got after it. They may have lost the match, but they didn't back down. That's what our goal tonight was, and I really believe we achieved that."
Star of the match: Curtis Lilly, Sterling, 100th career victory
Up next: Dixon at Dakota, 5:30 Thursday; Sterling at Rock Island Regional, Feb. 2