ROCK FALLS – Francisco Arellano usually wrestles in the 195-pound spot. Thursday, he stepped up to 285, and he delivered.
The Rock Falls sophomore overcame nearly getting pinned in the second period to earn a one-point win, and help the Rockets to a 48-29 dual win over Newman at Tabor Gym.
The double-dual also included Stillman Valley, which opened with a 43-34 win over Rock Falls before besting Newman 47-27.
"We're starting to wrestle the way I envisioned that we'd wrestle," Rockets coach Derick Cox said. "I bumped four guys up [in weight class] to help us team-wise. I'm really happy with the way we wrestled. I'm extremely happy with our young kids. They're learning how to win."
Leading 2-0 after a takedown late in the first period, Arellano found himself down 3-2 in the second period after Nyle Nestor nearly pinned him and earned three back points.
Newman assistant coach Brock Rude felt that Nestor got the pin, and voiced his feelings to the referee.
"I didn't feel like I was close to getting pinned," Arellano said. "The only thing that came to mind was, 'Get off my back and win.'"
Arellano was able to turn the tables with a reversal and led 4-3 after two periods. That score held up.
Arellano has wrestled several times at 285.
"It's a hard challenge," he said. "It's harder to wrestle the way I want to, because they're bigger and stronger. So, I have to adjust."
There were seven contested bouts between Newman and Rock Falls. The Rockets won four, and outscored the Comets 18-17 in those matchups.
Rock Falls (12-13) was awarded five forfeits, and Newman two.
The Rockets' other contested wins came via pins by Christian Torres at 182 and Lucas Newburgh at 220, and a 9-5 decision by Konner Smith at 132.
Newman's three contested wins included pins by Elias Edmondson at 138 and Jake Snow at 145, and a technical fall by Bryce Ivey at 170.
Edmondson, a freshman, is trying to follow in his father's footsteps. His dad, Andy, was a state runner-up for Sterling High School.
"I have to win it, so I have bragging rights," said Elias, who pinned Rock Falls' Rollie Elder in 2:53 in what was a tightly contested bout that he led 5-4 before getting the fall.
He's got the right people surrounding him – a former state champ in Snow, a state qualifier in Ivey, and another of the state's best in Rude, just to mention a few. He's faced them all in practice.
"It's painful at times, but my dad placed at state, and he got his butt kicked for a while," Edmondson said. "I know it helps me a lot."
"I thought Elias wrestled a really good match tonight; just a smarter match than he's been wrestling," Newman coach Steve Davis said. "He's really done a nice job of progressing.
"And Eli Monier had two really good matches. He's getting to the point where he's taking that next step."
Stillman Valley 43, Rock Falls 34
Stillman Valley 47, Newman 27