By Rudy Coggins
Published in Sports on February 4, 2010 1:46 PM
DUDLEY -- "We can do it."
Charles B. Aycock certainly did.
Focused on a season-long goal, the Golden Falcons reclaimed the Eastern Carolina 3-A Conference dual-team wrestling championship with a 63-12 conquest of county rival Southern Wayne on Wednesday evening.
C.B. Aycock secured its fifth league crown in the past six years and earned the No. 1 seed for the N.C. High School Athletic Association dual-team playoffs, which start Feb. 9. The Golden Falcons will face a wild-card entry in opening-round play.
"Losing a lot of seniors and (being) a returning starter, it was hard to convince all these guys (we could win the ECC) with a young group," said Golden Falcons senior Justin Farrell. "But we kept telling them that we can do it, we can do it, we can do it.
"And we pulled it off."
The Golden Falcons (17-7 overall, 4-0 ECC) captured their sixth straight league victory and haven't lost to Southern Wayne in a dual-match setting since 2000 -- a stretch of 13 consecutive wins including postseason play.
This meeting was different than the county rivals' pre-Thanksgiving contest. The Saints (0-12, 0-4) prevailed in six of seven individual matches that evening, but surrendered too many forfeits in a nine-point setback.
Aycock benefited from seven forfeits on Wednesday and seized a 4-3 edge in contested bouts.
"We've still got a little work to do," said Aycock head coach Marc Peck. "We've made progress ... worked hard all year and practiced through the holidays. I think it's paying off for the most part."
The Golden Falcons grabbed an 18-0 lead on three straight forfeits before returning regional qualifier Jacob Richards put the Saints on the board. The 140-pounder trailed 5-1 after the first period, but pinned Aycock's Aaron Pate late in the second.
"They know each other pretty well, so that was going to be a tough match either way," said first-year Saints coach Joseph Kincaid of Richards' match. "It's different each time he wrestles the kid because (Pate) knows what he's going to do and can feel him out.
"So Jacob has to do something new each time. He got where he needed to be (on the mat) and knew what he needed to run at the right time."
Aycock's Jordan Lee followed with a narrow 5-3 decision over Jamison Dove at 145. Dove recorded a single-leg takedown with 23 seconds left in regulation and just missed executing a cradle for nearfall points as time expired.
He slapped the mat in frustration as the referee blew the whistle.
The Saints' Ethan Brogden and Minek Ford controlled their respective opponents, and each registered a decision. The Golden Falcons' Kaleb Robinson needed just 99 seconds to pin Dakota Toms at 171, giving him 23 individual wins on the season.
Three additional forfeits clinched the overall outcome for Aycock.
But the Golden Falcons weren't done. Mario Darby pinned the Saints' Travis Memmelaar with six seconds left in the first period at 103 pounds.
"Before we came in here, we worked on a strategy ... tried to perfect two moves," said Peck of Darby's match. "As soon as he got that front headlock, he cross-stepped into the cradle and that's what we had been over (in practice). The opportunity presented itself and he got the pin.
"We're proud of him and the progress he has made."
Teammates David Romo and Farrell notched a forfeit and pin, respectively, to seal the deal. Farrell improved to 22-1 this season.