Cole Lukens may not have realized it at the moment, but his 2nd period pin over Tullahoma’s Sam Dean sealed the win over the hard charging Tullahoma Wildcats and gave Blackman their 4th Region Championship in the last 6 years.
Blackman Wrestling rolled into Siegel High School last night with one goal in mind…..Become Region Champions and represent Blackman High School at the TSSAA State Duals. The other three teams from District 9 and District 10 also had the same goal….but they had other plans in mind for the Blaze.
The evening started with District 9 runner-up Lawrence County. Lawrence County has been putting in work and they showed last night that they deserved a place at the region duals. The match started with Jalen Brown scoring a tech fall over Hunter Long at 145 pounds. Brown’s effort was followed by pins from the Blaze middleweights, Landon Fowler(152), Matthew Sells(160), and Ryan Heath(170). At 182, Spencer Layne was pinned by Jacob Dubberly and the Blaze then forfeited 195. After 6 bouts, it was Blackman 23 – Lawrence Co. 12. Dylan Heath kept things moving for Blackman as he pinned Jon Gerber in 55 seconds. Jamil Hughes followed with a pin of his own over Skyshun Wiley. At 106, Evan Smart had his hands full with Dominic Williams ended up losing the bout 9-0. Liam Elam took a forfeit for Blackman and 113. At 120 Wiley Van Voorst was tech falled by a very aggressive Bailey Murphy. At 126, junior Daniel Bradford defeated Luke Dezember by decision in a close 5-4 contest. At this point, the dual score was 44-21 and with things out of reach, Coach Bray decided to forfeit the last two weight classes. Final score – Blackman 44 – Lawrence County 33. The win cemented Blackman’s 8th trip to the TSSAA State Duals.
While all of this was going on, Stewarts Creek and Tullahoma were battling it out on the other mat. In their meeting earlier in the season, Stewarts Creek beat the Wildcats 44-29. Tonight would be different. After trailing by 10 points, the Wildcats hit a hot streak and scored big bonus points in 6 consecutive matches to open up an 18 point lead. Creek battled back with a couple of wins of their own but Sam Dean’s pin over Kalani Meckes at 126 gave Tullahoma a 16 point cushion with only two bouts remaining.
So with the finals set Blackman coaches quickly geared up for the final dual with Tullahoma. Similar to Stewarts Creek, Blackman owned the last meeting between the two teams with a 39-25 win over the Wildcats earlier this month. The dual started off at 152 with Landon Fowler getting a 1st period pin over Eli Dean. The Wildcats forfeited 160 to Blackman’s Matthew Sells to give Blackman a 12-0 lead. Ryan Heath had a great 1st period and pinned Adkins at 170. Not to be outdone, Spencer Layne scored a 1st period pin of his own over Nelms. Score Blackman 24 – Tullahoma 0. Blackman forfeited 195. At 220, Dylan Heath was looking for a bit of revenge over Tullahoma’s Alex Pursley. In their last meeting, Heath was forced to give up a medical forfeit after being taken down hard to the mat and sustaining an injury. This time, it was clear that the two wrestlers were going to have a battle. A full three periods and Heath wins 2-0! With a 21 point lead, Blackman fans were feeling comfortable but Tullahoma rattled off 4 straight wins to completely close the gap.
At 285, Tullahoma’s Luke Champion defeated Jamil Hughes by fall and at 106, Evan Smart lost by tech fall to Cal Rogers. Liam Elam was majored by Will Moran at 113 and Wiley Van Voorst was also majored by Luke Price. At this point, Blackman leads by only 2 points 27-25. Things were certainly heating up. With four bouts to go Tullahoma forfeited 126 to Daniel Bradford. Blaze lead by 8. At 132, senior Cole Lukens had a strong 1st period over Tullahoma’s Sam Dean. You may remember that Dean sealed the win for the Wildcats in their match with Stewarts Creek earlier in the night. Not this time. Lukens was in complete control and looked confident with many shots and scores. In the 2nd period, Cole found what he was looking for and his PIN over Dean put things out of reach for the Wildcats. With no way left for the Wildcats to win, the last two bouts were wrestled for experience. Blackman freshman Brooks Sacharczyk faced Tullahoma senior Aaron Kelly. Kelly is ranked at 138 and Brooks had won the last two meetings between the two. Once again, Brooks wrestled a great match and defeated Kelly 5-4. To close out the night, Sophomore Jalen Brown(145) wrestled junior John Bonee and won a tough 7-1 decision. Final Score Blackman 45 – Tullahoma 25.
The win cemented Blackman’s place as the 2017 Region 5 Dual Champions! Earlier in the season, no one was sure what Blackman may accomplish because we have lost several wrestlers. Last year, Balckman sent 11 to the state tournament and only 3 of those guys are with the team now. Several graduated, some got injured and some decided that after many years of wrestling that the sport just wasn’t for them anymore. Winningthis year is a testament to all of the hard work that our coaches and wrestlers have put in over the last several months. Truly a great accomplishment!!
Blackman will be at the TSSAA State duals on Feb 3-4. The field this year has a lot of parity and although the top two teams are clearly Cleveland and Bradley, the rest of the field is anyone’s guess. It will be an exciting weekend at the Williamson County Ag Center!!
Pictures from the duals with Lawrence County and Tullahoma will be on out PHOTOS page.
FINAL CHAMPIONSHIP RESULTS
152: Landon Fowler (BLAC) over Eli Dean (TULL) (Fall 0:53)
160: Matthew Sells (BLAC) over (TULL) (For.)
170: Ryan Heath (BLAC) over Brenden Adkins (TULL) (Fall 0:29)
182: Spencer Layne (BLAC) over Brian Nelms (TULL) (Fall 1:20)
195: Alex Pursley (TULL) over (BLAC) (For.)
220: Dylan Heath (BLAC) over Akil Hicks (TULL) (Dec 2-0)
285: Luke Champion (TULL) over Jamil Hughes (BLAC) (Fall 1:20)
106: Cal Rogers (TULL) over Evan Smart (BLAC) (TF 20-4 6:00)
113: Will Moran (TULL) over Liam Elam (BLAC) (MD 13-3)
120: Luke Price (TULL) over Wiley Van Voorst (BLAC) (MD 21-9)
126: Daniel Bradford (BLAC) over (TULL) (For.)
132: Cole Lukens (BLAC) over Sam Dean (TULL) (Fall 2:55)
138: Brooks Sacharczyk (BLAC) over Aaron Kelly (TULL) (Dec 5-4)
145: Jalen Brown (BLAC) over John Bonee (TULL) (Dec 7-1)