02/01/12 — Cleveland pins Eastern Wayne

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Cleveland pins Eastern Wayne

By Rudy Coggins
Published in Sports on February 1, 2012 1:48 PM

Short-handed and youthful Eastern Wayne followed its head coach's advice and challenged a strong Cleveland team through the early matches Tuesday evening.

The Warriors grappled aggressively and rode senior night emotions as long as they could. But Cleveland was just too strong in the end.

The Rams emerged victorious in six of 10 contested individual bouts, drew four forfeits and polished off their first-ever Eastern Carolina 3-A Conference crown with a 60-21 victory. They officially secured the No. 1 seed for the N.C. High School Athletic Association dual-team playoffs, which begin Feb. 7.

"Go out and go hard (was the plan)," said third-year Eastern Wayne head coach Jon Jones. "Tonight, I wanted to see improvement. (I) am tired of seeing them scared of initiating moves and if they go after it and lose, then I have no problem with that.

"When we were aggressive, we looked good."

Eastern Wayne (15-16 overall, 2-3 ECC) missed putting three starters -- Victor Rodriguez, Jason Reid and Brice Heller -- on the mat. Still, the Warriors earned the initial takedown in eight matches and won four.

Sophomore 138-pounder Craig Smith scored a 12-9 decision over Josiah Evans, while fellow sophomore Darrian Adkins pinned the Rams' Josh Williams in 3 minutes, 39 seconds.

Quadrick Williams, who has been nursing a sore back, posted a 23-second fall over Cleveland's Cameron Pittman at 160 pounds. Junior 120-pounder Warren Kirkwood claimed the Warriors' final decision of the night, a two-minute fall over Christian Baker.

Down 15-12, Cleveland reeled off seven consecutive victories, including five pins. Junior Holden Bohannon, a returning ECC champion, wrestled up at heavyweight and kept the decisive run going with a 43-second fall over Eastern Wayne's Blake Terrell.

"Blake went with the plan and tried to tie him up quick, make it a heavyweight match," said Jones. "We didn't want a 220 (pound) shooting match. Unfortunately, Bohannon got out of the tie. I'm not disappointed in Blake.

"We went out hard and made some mistakes. Most of them, I can live with them because of youth."

It was the final home match for Terrell and three-year captain Austin Helm, who recently logged his 100th career win during a dual-team tournament at South Lenoir.