COVINGTON - Weather played a tremendous factor in Eastside's undertaking for the elusive Class AAAA team duals championship Saturday at the Macon Centreplex.
The Eagles lost the title to Ringgold 38-36 only an hour and 10 minutes after finding out their match had been switched to 10 a.m. due to the inclement weather. Meanwhile, Newton was eliminated 46-23 by Forsyth Central in its Class AAAAA consolation match.
"We were suppose to wrestle at 7:45 (p.m.). Instead, I get a call at 8:50 (a.m.) saying, "Get down here. You're supposed to start at 10," Eastside coach Brandon Blakeman said. "Had (Newton) coach (Chris) Andrews not been there, I wouldn't have known. I'm not saying that's an excuse because they were in the same boat.
"We might have been able to play a better chess match, but our lack of depth didn't allow us to do that. It was a lack of depth and our inexperience. We just don't realize that when you're up, you keep trying to push the envelope and sit back and take what they give you rather than try to force stuff."
That lesson was learned by two of Eastside's more experienced and capable wrestlers.
Leading in their matches, they allowed themselves to get out of position and suffer pins, giving the Tigers a 12-point swing.
"We had two of our studs that were actually winning their match, and they put themselves in one bad position and Ringgold capitalized on it. They're smart wrestlers," Blakeman said.
While some mistakes were made on the mat, others were made on the sidelines.
"We kind of messed up. Their 215 (-pounder) is a stud, and we saw it, so we put our 285 at 215, but they did the same thing," Blakeman said. "They were able to play a really good chess match because they knew they had solid backups that could give us trouble, and they could put kids in those spots."
Winning for Eastside by pins were Ardest Carter (189), Cody Durden (103) and Jamarcus Griggs (112). David Bender (152) and Jonathan Palmer (171) won by points, while Joel Stafford (119) and Patrick George (145) won by forfeit.
Griggs, Stafford, Bender, Palmer and Carter were undefeated in the two-day tournament. Griggs pinned all of his opponents.
Forsyth Central 46, Newton 23
The weather played havoc on the consolation rounds as well.
Rather than the traditional three two-minute rounds, the teams were forced to wrestle three one-minute rounds - something the Rams were not prepared for.
"It was thrown on us, and the guys weren't ready for that. I think it was a shock to them," Andrews said. "We haven't been practicing shorter periods and I don't think we were prepared. The other kids came out being very, very aggressive. They went out there and used all the energy they would've used in three periods in one and a half periods. It made everything go really quick. "
Danny Mendoza (135) got things started for the Rams with a win, but they trailed as the speed of the matches took their toll.
Newton was never able to catch up as the Bulldogs sent the Rams packing early.
"I think all the kids were starting to get a little nervous," Andrews said. "We just had too much going on."
Also winning for Newton were Dylan Flores (technical fall at 103), Ryan Mitchell (pin at 112), Corey Ware (points at 119) and Michael Fellows (pin at 285).
Manny Fils can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.