BAKERSFIELD -- The seconds ticked deep into overtime, and David Ferry of Central Catholic sensed fatigue in his opponent.
He didn't dismiss Joey Davis, not after the Santa Fe High sophomore tied the match 2-2 with 10 seconds left in regulation. It was just a hunch, an athlete's hunch born from 14 years of competition on the mat.
"I saw him breaking. It was his stance, the way he moved his legs," Ferry said. "I was tired, too. I didn't want to go any more rounds."
The 135-pound state title just sat there, like a jewel shing in a glass case, waiting to be won Saturday night. So Ferry, the CC junior who had dreamed of this moment since he placed eighth a year ago, grabbed it.
He shot for the legs, the signature move of aggression, and scored with 25 seconds left in overtime. Ferry, his dramatic 4-2 victory at the CIF State Championships secured, turned to the large contingent of Central Catholic fans in the bleachers, raised his fists high and cried the best cry of his life.
"I've never had this feeling before," he said. "I worked so hard for it."
Ferry (51-2), ranked third, earned it by beating the top-ranked Davis in the final and No. 4 Blake Kastl 4-3 of Gilroy Saturday morning in the semifinal. The aggressive Raider, with his shock of brown hair poking through his headgear, joins the podium with three-time Central Catholic state champion Louis Bland (2005, '06, '08).
And, by the way, he was coached by men armed with a pair of state titles apiece during their days at Hughson -- head coach Steve Strange and assistant Billy Murphy.
"He loves wrestling. That's what it's all about for him," Strange said. "He was hungry for it."
So was Oakdale's plucky junior Shane Tate, who picked up a third place at 130. Seven of 10 Stanislaus District wrestlers qualified for Saturday, and seven medaled (top eight).
Ferry liked his chances against Davis (46-4), despite the Santa Fe star's 3-1 victory over him two months ago at Five Counties. In fact, Ferry pinned him at State last year and even remembered a win over him in eighth grade.
The match began with Ferry aggressive, stalking his foe and scoring 2-0 with only 30 seconds gone. He nearly turned him over but didn't add to his lead.
Davis responded, however, and slowly changed the momentum. Ferry held on until the final seconds when both tumbled off the mat and the official held up two fingers. Match tied.
"It was a close call," Ferry said. "He got it."
No matter. Ferry assumed control in the overtime, shooting once and failing and then repeating for the title.
"For him, it was sheer determination," Cherie Ferry, David Ferry's mother said. "He wanted it that bad. He even cried when his brother (Cameron) qualified."
His victory, witnessed by 6,596 at Rabobank Arena, climaxed a fascinating two days.
Tate's difficult 4-2 semifinal loss to Selma's Nick Peña turned out to be a catalyst. He scrapped to two wins later, including a come-from-behind 6-4 decision over Shane Yacuta of Porterville for third place.
"A loss, like, in the semis usually messes me up," said Tate, who improved on his fifth-place finish at state last year. "I didn't let it get to me this time so it's a good sign."
Tate spiced a noteworthy day for Oakdale, which for the first time saw three of its wrestlers receive medals (top eight) at state. Trent Noon took seventh at 152 and senior Charlie Gilstrap placed eighth at 215. Noon solved Dillon Reid of Red Bluff 14-6 to become the only district wrestler among four to win the contest for seventh.
"If they told me we would take six guys here and three of them medaled, I'd say, 'Let's do it,' " Oakdale coach Brian Stevens said. "You bet it's a big deal."
Turlock junior Fabian Garcia (119), his weakened right knee heavily taped, gutted through a nasty second day. Many observers thought he was the district's best hope for a title, given his fourth at state last year and pedigree as a two-time Section Masters champion. The knee flared, however, during Friday night's quarterfinals loss to Gabe Brown of Poway.
Garcia annexed two solid wins Saturday morning before he gave ground. Two later losses were telling, especially the 5-0 setback in the fifth-place match to Sheldon's Isaiah Hurtado, the same opponent he beat 10-6 for the Section Masters title last week.
Sophomore Garrett Fortado (103), Garcia's younger teammate, dropped his final three matches 1-0, 3-2 and, for seventh, 2-0 to Bakersfield's Ian Nickell. Meeting the same fate was Pitman junior Adam Perez, who was defeated for seventh 8-2 by Adam Hendrickson of Healdsburg.
Still, Perez plowed impressively through the consolation bracket after he lost in the first round. Pitman senior Gustavo Verver (189), Perez's teammate, went 4-2 but paid dearly for a close first-round loss.
Waterford senior Erick Gomez (160) barely missed a medal despite a solid 3-2 showing. His 5-3 win late Saturday night over Oakdale's Kevin Butler demonstrated his season-long moxie against competitors from larger schools.
But no one equaled the want-to exhibited by Ferry, the kid who played a hunch and won big.