The Trojans elected to forfeit the championship match to Cleveland and settled for second place in Region 3, setting up a possible rematch in the state duals tournament Feb. 1-2 in Franklin.
“I’m proud of them. They came out here and did what we wanted them to do,” said No. 7-ranked Mustangs coach Al Morris. “We came up short against the No. 1-ranked team in the state. We knew they were going to be tough. We just finished up a tough match with Cleveland, the No. 2 team in the state last night. I think our guys have now learned that though we may not be where we want to be yet, we are getting close, we are getting really close.”
The Mustangs, after losing by a major decision at 126 pounds to start the match, picked it up with decisions by Tyrus Hamrick at 132 and Caleb Langford at 138 to take a 6-4 lead over the Trojans. Lawrence Cotton got a pin at 145 to give the Mustangs a 12-4 advantage.
Soddy-Daisy came back with wins at 152 and 160 to tie the match at 12-12. Chase Gregory put Walker Valley on top with a decision at 170 before the Trojans pulled out back-to-back wins to go up 18-15.
Walker Valley 220-pound wrestler Zack Miller put the Mustangs back out front with a pin before Soddy tied the match for the third time with a win at 285.
The Mustangs’ Drake Haney battled Soddy’s Jacob McClure in the bout of the night at 106 pounds.
Haney fell behind 2-1 in the first period before taking the lead with a reversal in the second. McClure came back with a reversal and near fall to go up 6-3. Haney countered with a reversal and picked up four points with a takedown and reversal to end the period with a 10-7 lead after an escape by McClure.
McClure fought back to tie the score at 10-10 in the third with an escape and reversal. With 17 seconds left, Haney pulled off a final reversal and held on to win the bout, 12-10 giving the Mustangs a 24-21 lead with two bouts to go.
“Drake Haney has come on here the last two days, beating two ranked kids. I don’t know what’s gotten into him but we are going to try and figure it out and spread it amongst the rest of the team. He is a gamer right now,” Morris praised. “I kind of hate we are going to have a little time off now, but we’ve got to try and find a way to make sure we get him even better.”
The Trojans showed why they are the top team in the state with back-to-back pins to pull the win over the Mustangs.
“I am so proud of the guys’ effort. The coaches have done the things to prepare them for this. I’m proud. I hate losing, but this is one of the best efforts by any team I have been with at Walker Valley,” said the Mustangs coach.
“We’re going to start thinking about individuals now. We’ve got team goals as a part of that, but we’re telling the guys now is the time to start thinking about your individual goals. When they do what we expect there, we will have some success as a team in the individuals.”
SODDY-DAISY 33, WALKER VALLEY 24
(Match started at 126 pounds)
106 — Drake Haney (WV) dec. Jacob McClure (SD), 12-10; 113 — Austin Houser (SD) pinned Logan Smith (WV), 4:37; 120 — Jacob Stevens (SD) pinned Braxton Brewer (WV), 0:54; 126 — Tucker Russo (SD) major dec. Joseph Munoz (WV), 16-4; 132 — Tyrus Hamrick (WV) dec. Alex Oliver (SD), 9-4; 138 — Caleb Langford (WV) dec. Austin Williamson (SD), 9-3; 145 — Lawrence Cotton (WV) pinned Sheldon Roberson (SD), 3:05; 152 — Turbo Smith (SD) tech. fall Ryan Hager (WV), 16-0, 4:24; 160 — Branndon Hunt (SD) dec. Micah Langford, 3-1; 170 — Chase Gregory (WV) dec. Garrett Alexander (SD), 8-4; 182 — Christian Dean (SD) dec. Ric Kennett (WV), 5-2; 195 — Blaike Henry (SD) dec. Billy Raulston (WV), 3-2; 220 — Zack Miller (WV) pinned Tyler Hixson (SD), 2:48; 285 — Luke Reno (SD) dec. Sam Dworak (WV), 3-1.