Despite going head over heels, Ironwood Ridge's R.J. Ramirez defeated Sunnyside's Joey Lopez for the Nighthawks' first win after the Blue Devils had claimed the first six matches.


Sunnyside won six straight matches against host Ironwood Ridge on its way to a 33-24 win Wednesday night, avenging last season's home loss to the Nighthawks and re-crowning the Blue Devils the wrestling kings of Southern Arizona.

The win comes four days after Sunnyside claimed the Flowing Wells Invitational and continues the Blue Devils' momentum with sectional and state tournaments the next two weeks.

"All I can say is that Sunnyside is back," said Sergio Miranda, an undefeated senior. "It's a good thing to get revenge back at their place, too."

Sunnyside senior Aaron Steinebach shut out defending state champion Troy Taylor 2-0 at 145 pounds, scoring both points in the final minute of the ninth match of the night to secure Sunnyside's victory.

"I was thinking if I didn't win, they had a chance to beat us as a team," Steinebach said. "He had some things but I worked hard and I got it."

Undefeated Sunnyside junior Gabe Gonzales opened the dual with a 5-3 win over Scott Simmons, then the Blue Devils won the next two on forfeits.

Sophomore 113-pounder Juaquin Olivas followed that with a major decision over Alfredo Calzadillas to put Sunnyside up 19-0 before Miranda won with a technical fall against Marco Dominguez to make it 24-0.

Junior William Olivas gave Sunnyside its sixth win when he defeated Joey Howard 10-5 at 126 pounds.

But Ironwood Ridge's R.J. Ramirez rallied to beat Joey Lopez 13-11 and get the Nighthawks on the board, down 27-3.

By then it was already too late. Senior Raul Moraga won on a major decision over Tate Sandifer in the 132-pound match, setting up Steinebach to clinch it.

I-Ridge defending state champion Matt Filbert pinned Ricky Miranda but wasn't celebrating.

"This loss was heart-breaking but it's good it came now," Filbert said. "It's going to be a wake up call for our team to get back in the room and work three times as hard."

Second-year Sunnyside coach Anthony Leon was excited about the win but still saw room for improvement.

"We're leaving too many points on the board," Leon said. "We have to do a little bit better shutting the door."