02/07/07 — Rosewood matmen pinned by South Davidson

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Rosewood matmen pinned by South Davidson

By Rudy Coggins
Published in Sports on February 7, 2007 2:18 PM

Chris Hare believes Coach Ed now.

When Rosewood learned of its opening-round opponent in the Class 1-A N.C. High School Athletic Association playoffs, Bill Edmundson educated his young squad about perennial power South Davidson. The Wildcats always wrestle aggressive, rarely yield any pin points and smartly capitalize on an opponent's mistakes.

"Coach Ed said you're going to have to work for what you get and that's what we did," said Hare.

The Eagles tugged and strained for every individual point, but just couldn't close the deal Tuesday evening. South Davidson recorded six pins in 10 contested matches and prevailed 47-30. The Wildcats dusted off Holly Ridge Dixon 40-32 in the second round, and oppose Topsail for the eastern regional title Thursday.

Rosewood concluded its dual-team season at 29-8 overall.

"Things were set up perfectly for us tonight," said Edmundson, who is 0-4 all-time against South Davidson. "We got the coin toss we wanted. I couldn't have scripted a better scenario as to who South put on the mat against us.

"It came down to who wanted those individual matches the most."

The dual featured nine wrestlers ranked or listed as honorable mention in ncmat.com's latest Super 32 report. Two bouts lasted the entire three periods, while four ended midway through the opening period.

South Davidson's Jade Gilbert started the night with a shocking first-period fall against the Eagles' J.D. Baker. Gilbert caught Baker in a tough position and pinned him at the 1-minute, 37-second mark.

"That's the wildcard of wrestling," said Edmundson. "On any day, any wrestler can get stuck. J.D. is one of our anchors and I have no doubt he will bounce back from this match."

That loss emotionally affected the entire team and nearly turned Hare's stomach inside-out. The junior 130-pounder had already turned into a nervous wreck while anticipating his match with Kevin Hulin, ranked No. 3 among the state's 1-A/2-A grapplers at 125 pounds.

Hulin bumped up to 130 and replaced Josh Peacock, who sustained a season-ending injury (broken collarbone) nearly two weeks ago.

Hare and Hulin battled to a scoreless tie after one period. Hulin escaped from the bottom in the second period, and Hare followed suit with a third-period escape.

"I just did everything I could to get the one," said Hare.

Neither grappler refused to relinquish holds for the next minute. Hare gained control in the final 30 seconds and scored two crucial takedown points. Hulin appeared to reverse Hare as time expired, but the referee awarded only an escape point.

"Getting the takedown relaxed me a whole lot," Hare said of the 3-2 decision. "I knew I could take my time and just be smart. I broke him down and just tried to hang on; make sure he didn't get the two."

South Davidson (21-10 overall) responded with five falls in the next six matches. Two falls occurred after the Eagles had grabbed the upper hand with either takedowns or reversals combined with nearfall points.

That slim 6-3 lead after Hulin's loss quickly turned into a 36-6 cushion.

"We won two or three matches that I honestly didn't know how they'd go," said South Davidson coach Mike Crowell. "I thought we were pretty-evenly matched coming in because our good kids and their good kids match up well. Some of my younger kids came through for us in the middle weights and won some big matches for us.

"I think that was the key for us."

Rosewood's lone bright spot during the Wildcats' run was Byron Cavenaugh. The 145-pounder turned up the intensity in the third quarter and dumped Isual Espinoza 10-4.

"Very few wrestlers can adapt to Byron's style and he surprises a lot of people," said Edmundson. "(Espinoza) was extremely good at avoiding back points and we talked about how you can't be greedy looking for the pin.

"All season, pins have come pretty easily for us. But, at this stage of the game, you have to fight for every point possible."

South Davidson forfeited three consecutive matches which closed the overall gap to 36-24. Rosewood returned the favor at 103 pounds and senior Jim Bish grabbed the Eagles' final win -- a record-setting, first-period fall over Chase Queen.

Bish improved to 52-2 overall this season and established three new records in Rosewood's 15-year history. The 112-pounder has the most career wins (170) and regular-season wins (52) in school history, and is Wayne County's all-time career wins leader with 170.

The Eagles tied the Wayne County record of dual-team victories (29) in season, which was set a year ago by Charles B. Aycock.

"We have been able to mark off so many team and personal goals," said Edmundson. "Team (wrestling) is now over, and the individual phase has begun. This group will transition as if there is no change, will push each other in practice and work toward their (respective) goals."

South Davidson 47

Rosewood 30

125 -- Jade Gilbert (SD) wbf J.D. Baker, 1:37; 130 -- Chris Hare (RHS) dec. Kevin Hulin, 3-2; 135 -- Cesar Zepeda (SD) wbf Josh Holmes, 1:34; 140 -- Chris Queen (SD) wbf Richie Pelt, 1:11; 145 -- Byron Cavenaugh (RHS) dec. Isual Espinoza, 10-4; 152 -- Chris DeCamp (SD) wbf Andrew Sass, 2:27; 160 -- Cody Deel (SD) wbf T.J. Sprinkle, 5:00; 171 -- Timmy Draughn (SD) wbf Vontarius Kornegay, 3:46; 189 -- Chris Holmes (RHS) by forfeit; 215 -- J.P. Person (RHS) by forfeit; Hwt -- Trevor Morris (RHS) by forfeit; 103 -- Juan Zepeda (SD) by forfeit; 112 -- Jim Bish (RHS) wbf Chase Queen, 1:15; 119 -- Keith Hulin (SD) tech fall Ariel Nacca, 18-3.

Records: Rosewood 29-8, South Davidson 21-10.

Next match: Feb. 16-17, Rosewood in NCHSAA 1-A/2-A East Regional at Croatan; Thursday, South Davidson at Topsail.

Note: South Davidson defeated Dixon40-32 in second round.