Golden Falcon matmen seize ECC regular-season crown
By Rudy Coggins
Published in Sports on February 1, 2006 2:13 PM
PIKEVILLE -- Charles B. Aycock's wrestling team crossed one item off its preseason checklist Tuesday evening.
Denied regular-season titles each of the past three seasons, the Golden Falcons captured the program's first Class 3-A Eastern Carolina Conference championship since 2002 with a 50-18 victory over archrival Eastern Wayne. C.B. Aycock (26-0) clinched the league's No. 1 seed for the N.C. High School Athletic Association dual-team playoffs, which begin Feb. 7.
The loss mathematically eliminated the Warriors (22-8) from earning one of the ECC's two automatic bids to the postseason. They are eligible for one of two wildcards -- based on overall winning percentage -- available in the 16-team east bracket. The NCHSAA is expected to release the pairings Sunday afternoon.
Coaches from both teams stressed three factors that could affect the outcome -- aggressiveness, intensity and focus -- in their respective pre-game meetings. Although each realized they needn't remind their wrestlers of the task at hand, they also knew that individual match points would ultimately decide the overall match.
Their premonitions, of course, became reality as the regular-season finale slowly unfolded before the 100-plus fans in attendance.
C.B. Aycock prevailed in nine individual bouts, while Eastern Wayne won five. The Golden Falcons collected a technical fall (15-point win), four pins, one decision and three forfeits. The Warriors earned one fall and four three-point decisions.
"When we stay off our backs, we're a solid dual team and that's what happened tonight," said Aycock coach Kevin Smith. "We didn't give up falls. The (individual) matches we did lose tonight were close matches."
The Golden Falcons beat the Warriors for the seventh consecutive time and picked up their 27th ECC regular-season victory overall in 30 tries since 2002.
"We told the kids to go out and wrestle hard ... don't be intimidated," said Eastern Wayne coach Mike Brown. "I was pleased with the way our boys wrestled. They fought hard ... wrestled pretty good.
"Aycock's kids are strong and they go hard. Several of our kids didn't get pinned, and I thought we did a better job of staying off our backs."
A scant three points separated the teams after four matches. Aycock's Drake Gurley drew a forfeit at 103 pounds and Ngu Tran, the reigning ECC champion at 119 pounds, recorded a 48-second fall against the Warriors' K.J. Brodie.
Eastern Wayne sophomores Chris Tesar (112 pounds) and James Knight (125) combined for nine points. Tesar climbed to 48-0 overall with an 8-2 decision against Jordan Pearson, who avoided three potential nearfalls in the last two periods combined.
Knight trailed Sam Rabhan 8-4 early in the third period before scoring a two-point reversal. Once he locked in a half nelson and put pressure on Rabhan's head, Rabhan couldn't keep his shoulders off the mat and lost by fall.
"James didn't quit and kept fighting," said Brown. "We've told the kids to stay aggressive and if you're behind, it doesn't matter what the score is, you can still pin the kid."
The Golden Falcons, who collected 18 points on forfeits, seized the next four matches. Derek Lancaster, one of four seniors, posted an 18-3 technical fall against Brack Duvall. Teammates Josh Overton and Ronald Lynn, both underclassmen, each recorded a first-period fall.
Bryant Lancaster ended the 23-0 spurt with a forfeit at 145 pounds.
Warrior senior Joey Burridge improved to 41-3 overall with a tough, 3-2 decision against Steve Bentley at 152 pounds. Burridge escaped Bentley's hold with 30-plus seconds left in the final period. After a short timeout, Burridge blocked three single-leg takedowns to finish the regular season unbeaten against ECC opposition.
Aycock senior Tim Harrison clinched the overall match with a 5-minute, 10-second fall against Brian Lincoln at 162 pounds. Harrison, who defeated Lincoln for the third time this season, boosted the Golden Falcons' advantage to 41-12.
"We wanted Tim to be very physical with him and we also wanted Tim to keep the match on his feet," said Smith. "He's just wrestling real well right now. What Tim is doing so much better this year than in years past is he has a game plan when he walks out onto the mat, and he sticks to it.
"He was everything we wanted him to be (tonight)."
The teams split the final four matches.
Eastern Wayne senior Travis Turner posted career win No. 150 with a tight, 2-0 decision against Golden Falcon senior Jason Steed. Brandon Johnson (48-6) wrestled a steady match against Jarrett Covar and prevailed 6-2.
Zach Wright nipped Tyler Wicks 4-2 at 215 pounds and senior heavyweight Shane Lozier, who drew a forfeit, closed out the scoring for C.B. Aycock.
The Golden Falcons, the NCHSAA east regional runners-up last season, return to the mats Saturday for the season-ending ECC tournament.
"We're very excited, happy to reach this goal," said Smith of the ECC regular-season crown. "But, it wasn't our final goal. We've still got several things on our checklist that we want to accomplishment.
"We're able to check this off."
C.B. Aycock 50
Eastern Wayne 18
103 -- Drake Gurley (CBA) by forfeit; 112 -- Chris Tesar (EW) dec. Jordan Pearson, 8-2; 119 -- Ngu Tran (CBA) wbf Keith Broadie, 0:48; 125 -- James Knight (EW) wbf Sam Rabhan, 5:11; 130 -- Derek Lancaster (CBA) tech fall Brack Duvall, 18-3; 135 -- Josh Overton (CBA) wbf John Fricks, 1:52; 140 -- Ronald Lynn (CBA) wbf Marcus Lewis, 1:01; 145 -- Bryant Lancaster (CBA) by forfeit; 152 -- Joey Burridge (EW) dec. Steve Bentley, 3-2; 160 -- Tim Harrison (CBA) wbf Brian Lincoln, 5:10; 171 -- Travis Turner (EW) dec. Jason Steed, 2-0; 189 -- Zach Wright (CBA) dec. Tyler Wicks, 4-2; 215 -- Brandon Johnson (EW) dec. Jarrett Covar, 6-2; Hwt -- Shane Lozier (CBA) by forfeit.
Records: C.B. Aycock 26-0, 4-0 Eastern Carolina 3-A Conference; Eastern Wayne 22-8, 2-2 ECC.
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