Bulldog wrestlers hoist Conyers Cup
Rockdale retains title with dominant performance over county rivals

CONYERS - The Rockdale wrestling team won 19 of the 20 matches it competed in to retain the Conyers Cup for another year Saturday.

The Bulldogs chalked up 14 pins on their way to victory.

"It's exciting and the kids love it. It's good for our fans and the school. They all get fired up for it," Rockdale coach Craig Hargrove said. "It was a great team effort."

Rockdale started the three-team meet with an 84-0 win over Salem before beating Heritage 63-12.

Heritage had an 81-0 win over Salem before losing to Rockdale.

Even though Salem was winless in both of its matches, it only had half a team and it had to forfeit seven of the 14 matches.

In the match to determine the winner of the Cup, the Bulldogs won four of the first five matches by pins to take a 27-0 lead.

Winning their matches by falls were Lloyd Martell (171-pound weight class), Rashaud Ferrell (189), Grady Jarrett (285) and Jake Morris (103).

The 215-pound match was a battle between Rockdale's James Toole and Heritage's Boyce Cornwell.

Trailing 3-2 in the third period, Cornwell took a 5-2 lead with a near pin. However, Toole was able to get the 7-5 win with an escape and a take down with 40 seconds left in the match.

Cornwell tried to get an escape but Toole blocked him holding on for the win.

"When you get down early, it's hard to come back against a team like this," Heritage coach Randy Hooley said. "The kids didn't give up. They always hear how good somebody is, but they keep after them, they won't back down."

Heritage scored its first points with a pin by Billy Abrahamsen at 112.

Rockdale extended its lead to 33-6 when Steven Crawley (119) was forced to quit due to a knee injury. Prior to the default win for the Bulldogs, Crawley was ahead in points over Hylan Taylor.

There was no doubt in the match at 125 as Luis Ponce got a 15-0 win to give the Bulldogs a 38-6 team lead.

After Heritage won at 130 on a forfeit, Eris Banks (135) secured the cup for Rockdale with 12-2 win.

The Bulldogs won the final four matches with Matt Muscarello (140), Muhamad Bois (145), Kafuba Donzon (152) and Jimmy Brown (160) getting the victories.

"It was not easy. Our guys went out there and wrestled hard. There's nothing really easy about it," Hargrove said. "It was a tough match and both teams wrestled hard."

In the Rockdale-Salem match, Rockdale won all seven of its matches by falls with three coming in under 30 seconds.

Morris pulled out his win in 11 seconds with Bois winning in 15 seconds, followed by a 29 second win by Taylor.

Heritage won six of its seven matches against Salem by pin with Crawley and Joel Maldanado (103) getting theirs in under 20 seconds.

Also winning their matches for the Patriots were Nathaniel Albers (152), Abe Williams (189), Denzel Washington (285), Erik Lauritsen (135) and Austin Heath (145).

"Overall, it wasn't bad. We're a young team and we made a lot of young mistakes," Hooley said. "But they wrestled hard, they didn't give up."

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