Coach Bray and the Blackman Blaze made history on Friday night by winning the first two duals of the TSSAA State Duals Wrestling Championship and advancing to the state semi-finals. It is the first time in Blackman’s 10 trips to the state duals to make the semi-finals.
Blackman opened the night with Tennessee High out of Bristol, TN. Tennessee has been solid in recent years with great athletes and excellent coaching. The match started at 106 pounds and Tennessee forfeited to Adam Tibotoski to give the Blaze an early lead. Alex Rose got the wrestling started at 113 and wasted little time in putting Perry Roller from Tennessee to his back as he scored a fall at 1:26. TN High punched back and claimed a pin of their own over Blackman’s Peyton Adams at 120 pounds.
With Blackman leading 12-6, Liam Elam and Austin Marlatt BOTH scored first period pins to extend the Blaze’s lead to 24-6. Pendley returned the favor by pinning Blackman’s Shawn Wolford in just 33 seconds. TN gave up two forfeits at 145 and 152 and the Blaze led 36-12. At 160, Anthony Gomez (160) lost by decision to Logan Ferguson and at 170, Landon Fowler earned a tough win over a very talented Dominic Fields. TN gave a forfeit to Brooks Sacharczyk at 182 and that was it. With the match out of reach, Coach Bray forfeited the remaining three weight classes. Final Blaze 45 – Vikings 33.
It feels great to win the first match at state but you can’t celebrate for too long. Blackman’s second opponent of the night was Beech Senior from Hendersonville. The last time Beech and Blackman wrestled, Beech won by a nose. Tonight belonged to Blackman however as the Blaze routed the Bucs 52-20.
Out of the gate, Blackman fired off two pins by Alex Rose(113) and Liam Elam(120). At 126, Blackman’s Tyler Pierce lost by major decision. Next up was Beech Senior Brayden Palmer. Palmer is the real deal and he ended up pinning Blackman’s Shawn Wolford in 1:19. Austin Marlatt turned in a tough performance and majored Beech’s Balie Cauley 8-0 at 138. At this point in the match it was Blackman 16 – Beech 10. At 145 Beech’s Jeremiah Herron scored a major over Aaron Fisher and narrowed the gap for the Bucs. Give Fisher credit for fighting tough as Herron is a veteran and super dangerous.
At 152, Jalen Brown faced off against Beech’s Mason Smith. Smith is a great wrestler but has battled injury and he was injured in the match at just 21 seconds. Brown looked super focused in that 21 seconds but went on to win by medical forfeit. At 160 pounds, Anthony Gomez found himself in a hole early against Bristin Hulsey but managed to dig himself out and score a 14-8 decision. Two first period pins by Landon Fowler and Brooks Sacharczyk opened up the Blaze lead to 37-14.
At 195, Blackman’s Jaylan Hughes had a close match with Ben Scalera. It was a low scoring match that went back and forth until the last period. Hughes scored an escape with short time to seal the win. At 220, Bowdy Boyce scored a 10 second pin over Kaden White. Boyce claims that the ref was three seconds late on the call. Whatever…..we’ll have to check the film…… Blackman and Beech traded forfeits at 285 and 106 and the final score ended up 52-20.
Blackman has their work cut out for them on day two. First match is at 1pm against #1 ranked Cleveland. If you haven’t been out to support the Blaze, now is the time. Tomorrow they will have their hands full with the Blue Raiders and will need all the help they can get!!
GO BLAZE!!!! 2019 State Semi-Finalists!!!