Blackman punched their ticket to TSSAA State Duals with authority last night at the Region 5 Dual Championships in Tullahoma. The Blaze defeated Lawrence County in the first match 65-17 and defeated Oakland in the final match 61-17.
The wins give Coach Bray and the Blaze their fifth Region title in the last seven years.
The format for the duals is simple. The best two teams from District 9 and the best two teams from District 10 are decided based on their in-season match results. At the region tournament, #1 from district 9 wrestles #2 from district 10 and vice versa. The winners both wrestle for the region championship.
The first matches were:
#1 Blackman vs #2 Lawrence County
#1 Tullahoma vs #2 Oakland
Blackman’s first match against Lawrence County started at 113 pounds. The Wildcats are particularly strong in the lighter weight classes and they showed their strength out of the gate. The Wildcats won the first three bouts with two pins and a tech fall to give them an early 17 point lead but they would not earn another point. Unfortunately, their lineup has several holes, and over the course of the match, they lost six weight classes by forfeit, and Blackman won the other five.
The highlight of the match was Blackman’s Ryan Heath delivering a first period pin of Lawrence County’s Jacob Dubberly. Dubberly earned the first takedown but Heath was able to put him in a scramble situation and get him to his back for the fall. The last time these teams wrestled, Dubberly pinned Blackman’s Spencer Layne.
Other winners in the match were Daniel Bradford (Pin), Brooks Sacharczyk (Tech-fall), Landon Fowler (Pin), and Alex Rose (Pin).
While Blackman wrestled Lawrence County, fellow District 10 rival Oakland took care of business with Tullahoma. Oakland defeated Tullahoma 45-31 (while giving the last two matches as forfeits). The win set up the all district 10 final with the Blaze.
In the finals match against Oakland, Jeremiah Savage had a first period pin at 120 to give Blackman an early 6 point lead. Oakland came back with a pin of their own with Semaj Burton pinning Liam Elam at 126 to tie things up 6-6.
Austin Marlatt added a major decision and Daniel Bradford got a pin to give the Blaze a 17-6 lead.
With 145 starter Dylan Stebbins still out of the lineup, Blackman backup Aaron Fisher had his hands full with Oakland’s Dejon Glaster at 145. Glaster won by tech fall and helped to close the Patriot gap.
Blackman’s murderer’s row starts at 152 and Jalen Brown wasted no time securing a first period pin. At 160 Brooks Sacharczyk struggled with momentum but still prevailed with a tough 4-3 decision over Ryder Gebhardt. Landon Fowler scored a pin at 160 and Spencer Layne followed with a first period pin over a very tough Nolan Cook with only one second remaining on the clock.
At 195, Ryan Heath scored his second pin of the night with a 15 second fall over Perkins.
In what ended up being the last match of the dual, 220 pound Bowdy Boyce lost by fall to 4th ranked Branson Boone. At one point, Boyce was able to grab a quick escape and throw Boone to his back but he was unable to keep him there and Boone turned the mistake into a victory for Oakland.
At this point, the match was out of reach for the Patriots and they forfeited the last three weight classes.
Blackman’s Head Coach Ronnie Bray said of his team’s performance, “I thought our team wrestled hard. I felt like they were ready to wrestle.”
“Individually, I felt Ryan Heath had a big one vs Lawrence Co and it was good to see Spencer Layne get the pin vs a tough Oakland kid,” Bray said.
The Blaze will prepare for their upcoming trip to the TSSAA State Duals next Friday in Franklin. It will be the 9th appearance for Blackman and the third in a row for Bray. “Getting back to State is just meeting expectations,” began Bray.
“The kids worked hard in the off season and kept it going during the season. We just have to make sure we keep up the intensity and make a run at the State Duals”, he concluded.
Photos from the event can be found HERE on the photos page.
Look for the Blaze faithful to be in the front row once again at the Ag Expo Center in Franklin beginning next Friday.