Compared to wrestling against a reigning state runner-up, things seemed quite a bit easier for Falcon freshman Logan Branham on Thursday in a nonleague dual at Palmer.
The 145-pounder pulled away late against Zach Scott for an 8-2 decision, one of two Falcon freshmen to grind out wins in a dominating 50-17 victory.
"My match against Tyler (Oberg) was a little rough," said Branham, recalling a much quicker result in a fall to the Discovery Canyon senior on Wednesday. "You definitely learn to fight off your back. It was a little rough coming back the next day, and I definitely wasn't feeling 100 percent. I just had to put a lot of heart into it."
In the night's first match, another of Falcon's freshmen, Justina Laula, earned a late escape point to score a 4-3 decision over Larry Black.
"Our seniors came through, but our younger kids are really coming up," said Falcons coach Robert Lovato, in his first year back after a previous 23-year run as coach. "Both my freshmen got wins, and that's what encouraged me the most. We don't usually see freshmen succeed at the higher weights."
After Laula's victory, Jacab Vacha pinned Zach Kornder in just 46 seconds, the first of four Falcon victories by fall.
Palmer took the 113-pound match in a forfeit, as did Falcon at 120 pounds.
When Terrors junior Cade Nash stopped Dillon Reese on a technical fall at 126 pounds, building a 23-6 advantage when the match was halted late in the third period, Palmer had a 17-9 team lead.
However, Nash was the last Palmer athlete to have his arm raised, as the Falcons reeled off nine straight bouts to end the night.
"We're a young team, and it's frustrating as a coach to go over moves in practice but not see it translate to the mat," Palmer coach Martin Davidson said. "It's our second night in a row that we looked very inexperienced when we wrestled. It's the mark of a young team, but it's a matter of spending time in the room and getting things figured out."
Two seasons ago, Nash struggled as a freshman, unable to win a single dual match. On Thursday, his experience and growth helped him improve to 11-3 as he sets his sights on next weekend's Metro League tournament and ultimately reaching the state tournament for the first time.
His older brother Cole was a three-time Metro League champion at Coronado.
"Once these kids start getting more experience, they'll go out there and start hitting their moves," Nash said. "A lot of the kids are new and get stage fright, the same way I felt during my freshman year. You have to go out there and do your wrestling and be the aggressor."