Eastside claims third straight title
Alcovy finishes third, drops heartbreaker to Dacula

ATHENS - The Eastside wrestling team three-peated as Area 8-AAAA champions in the team dual meet Saturday, while Alcovy finished third after losing to Dacula 36-35 in the battle for second place.

Eastside dominated both matches, outscoring its competition 135-15.

The Eagles started with a 70-6 win over Alcovy before beating Dacula 65-9 to gain the area championship. The Falcons are ranked No. 5 in the Gasports.com Class AAAA poll.

"That was a goal from the start of the season, because if you win three in a row, it means you've got a program where year-in and year-out you're consistent. It's not one of those where you do one year then you rebuild," Eastside coach Brandon Blakeman said. "When you only lose two against Dacula and one against Alcovy, those kids that lost were kids that are kind of spotting for us. They're not traditionally our typical starters."

Against Alcovy, the Eagles had eight pins while giving up one pin in the 14 matches.

In the championship bout against Dacula, the Eagles had a 6-3 lead after the first bouts before downing the Falcons.

Michael Green (125 pounds) and Dalton Bragg (140) pinned their opponents, while Brandon Cole won on a forfeit while Trevor Bailey (135) outscored his foe 8-4 to give Eastside a 30-3 lead.

After losing at 145, David Bender (152) won on a technical fall, 18-3, before David Temple (160) and Jonathan Palmer (171) won by falls.

With a 47-9 lead, Dacula forfeited the remaining three matches.

"The last three, they figured if they weren't going to be able to beat us, instead of running the risk of getting hurt, let's go for a true second and put it all on the line there," Blakeman said. "That's what Alcovy and Dacula both did."

In the battle for the true second and a trip to the Class AAAA state team duals, Dacula took an 18-0 lead over Alcovy before a forfeit and pins by Travis Knight (135) and Corey Reid (140) tied the match.

The Falcons regained the advantage at 27-18 before Corey Gorham (160) and Malachi Outlaw (171) had back-to-back pins to jump in front of Dacula 30-27. Alcovy lost the lead, but a pin by David Jones (285) gave the Tigers a three-point, 36-33, lead.

In the final battle, Alcovy was unable to keep Dacula from getting the points it needed to send the Falcons to state as Alcovy lost 37-36.

"Overall, I'm extremely pleased with our performance. We lost by one point to the No. 5 team in the state going to the state duals," Alcovy coach Mike Mostek said. "We had to battle injuries and we had to bump our lineup around to try to make it happen. My kids gave me everything I could ask from them. They gave me 100 percent and I'm extremely proud of them."

Alcovy's T.C. Jackson put Alcovy in position to wrestle Dacula in the consolation finals.

The Tigers trailed Jackson County 34-30 with two matches left. Jackson was able to escape in the final seconds of his match to give Alcovy a seven-point lead and secure the victory.

Alcovy started the day with a loss to Eastside before beating Heritage 39-25.

Rockdale started its day easily eliminating Madison County and Loganville.

Against Jackson County, the Panthers won the first match but the Bulldogs came back strong winning the next five, three by pins, to take a 24-6 lead.

Rockdale won four of the next five matches by points, but unfortunately Jackson County won its match by fall to make it 35-18 heading into the last three matches.

The Panthers won the final matches by pins to squeeze past Rockdale 36-35.

"I'm really impressed with our guys," Rockdale coach Craig Hargrove said. "To get as far as they did, to beat Loganville after they beat us, that was a big win, and then to get that close (against Jackson County). We were just a point away and some things could've went our way, but it just didn't happen for us.

"Jake Morris had a big win for us. Kafuba Donzon wrestled his heart out and did everything we asked of him."

In other matches, Heritage defeated Salem and Clarke Central before losing to Alcovy in the semifinals.

Manny Fils can be reached at manny.fils@newtoncitizen.com.