12/21/05 — Warriors rally to top Eagles

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Warriors rally to top Eagles

By Rudy Coggins
Published in Sports on December 21, 2005 2:03 PM

A chess match of individual matchups might have started long before Eastern Wayne and Rosewood's wrestlers reported for weigh-ins Tuesday evening at New Hope.

Warrior sophomore Chris Tesar and Eagle standout Jim Bish had been chatting online about a possible fourth meeting at 119 pounds. But Tesar, who battled sickness during Saturday's dual-team tournament at Jacksonville Northside, informed Bish he might not wrestle.

Tesar hadn't spoken of his conversation with Bish to head coach Mike Brown. Bish mentioned it to the Warrior coaching staff while heading toward the locker room to change for weigh-ins.

Brown put Tesar on the scales for an official weigh-in, and it turned out to be a solid, strategical move. The youth-laden Eagles gained early momentum before Tesar scored a critical major decision at 125 pounds. That 10-point swing proved pivotal in the overall outcome -- a 45-36, come-from-behind victory before a sparse turnout in the Warriors' old gymnasium.

"When Olivia (Neal) pinned my 12-pounder, I knew we could be in trouble if Tesar didn't wrestle," said Brown. "They could have snuck up on us and beaten us. Bill moved his weights around and almost got us.

"It was a smart move on his part."

Neal, a sophomore, improved to 4-0 with a first-period pin of the Warriors' Jordan Harris. Bish followed with a first-period pin and Tesar (24-0) momentarily stemmed the tide with his 12-point triumph over J.D. Baker.

Rosewood (5-3) answered with back-to-back pins from Chris Hare and senior captain Matt Davis. Davis improved to 19-4 this season and has 136 career wins.

"Chris Hare has developed a lot of quickness and looks very good," said veteran Eagles coach Bill Edmundson. "Matt continues to put on a clinic every time he steps onto the mat."

The teams traded individual wins before Eastern Wayne uncorked a match-clinching 29-0 run. Senior Joey Burridge, who inched closer to the 100-win mark, stuck the Eagles' Trent Harrell in 51 seconds at 152 pounds. Teammate Brian Lincoln needed 31 seconds to pin Jordan Owens in their 160-pound tilt.

Burridge improved to 19-2, while Lincoln climbed to 17-5.

Veteran Travis Turner collected his team-leading 26th win with a second-period pin of Chris Holmes. Foy Coley posted a technical fall (16-1) over David Smeltzer and Charles Boyd finished off the Eagles with a first-period pin against Brandon Dean.

"We did all we could do," said Edmundson. "I thought we did exceptional to be where we were. We were not supposed to be in this match at all and we were leading going into the next to last match of the night. I'll take that any day.

"Our inexperience killed us, but they are getting better every day."

Eastern Wayne (8-3) finished a disappointing fourth in the 10-team dual event at Northside, and Brown stressed the importance of finishing pins against the Eagles. The Warriors earned the initial takedown in 8 of 13 contested matches, which led to six falls.

"Our boys were definitely more aggressive on their pins," said Brown.

Rosewood concludes its pre-holiday schedule at home today against South Lenoir, a first-year program. The Warriors return to action Friday in a dual-team tournament at New Bern.

Notes: The Eagles' Neal has three pins and is expected to drop to 103 pounds for the Classes 1-A/2-A eastern individual regionals in February. ... Burridge has 88 career wins. ... The Warriors' Brandon Johnson, who wrestled heavyweight, is 24-4 this season. ... The match took 42 minutes to complete.

Eastern Wayne 45

Rosewood 36

Hwt -- Brandon Johnson (EW) wbf Trevor Morris, 4:29; 103 -- Gabe Castro (RHS) by forfeit; 112 -- Olivia Neal (RHS) wbf Jordan Harris, 1:19; 119 -- Jim Bish (RHS) wbf Romondo McEachern, 1:03; 125 -- Chris Tesar (EW) maj. dec. J.D. Baker, 17-5; 130 -- Chris Hare (RHS) wbf Brock Duvall, 0:15; 135 -- Matt Davis (RHS) wbf A.J. Washington, 0:43; 140 -- Detori Mitchell (EW) wbf Anthony Gibson, 2:18; 145 -- Byron Cavenaugh (RHS) wbf T.J. Highsmith, 1:19; 152 -- Joey Burridge (EW) wbf Trent Harrell, 0:51; 160 -- Brian Lincoln (EW) wbf Jordan Owens, 0:31; 171 -- Travis Turner (EW) wbf Chris Holmes, 3:57; 189 -- Foy Coley (EW) tech fall David Smeltzer, 16-1; 215 -- Charles Boyd (EW) wbf Brandon Dean, 0:51.

Records: Eastern Wayne 8-3, Rosewood 5-3.