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Area wrestling: Bulldogs, Pats will meet today
Heritage, Rockdale win in first round; Salem 1-1

ATHENS - Both the Rockdale and Heritage wrestling squads took care of business Friday at the Area 8-AAAA Duals at Clarke Central High School.

Rockdale, ranked No. 4 in the Georgia coaches wrestling poll, defeated Apalachee 51-27. Heritage handed Madison County a 54-19 loss.

As a result, both the Bulldogs and the Patriots will square off against each other in the semifinals at 9 a.m. today.

"We need to do the same thing we've been doing - keep the intensity up and keep after them," Heritage coach Randy Hooley said. "We've got a young team, so they're not scared to go up against the big dogs."

Despite topping Winder-Barrow 42-33 in the opening round, Salem was pinned by Loganville 70-3. The Seminoles will next face either Clarke Central or Madison County at 9 a.m. today.

"We actually wrestled pretty good against Winder," Salem coach Tim Owens said. "We wrestled not good in a couple of spots that I thought we would wrestle better in, but we did a good job against them."

Against Winder, Salem racked up six pins, highlighted by Joe Morovich, Michael Kennedy, Jarrett Cain and Marcus Stokes.

"It's a great experience for them," Owens said. "The main thing we're shooting for now is the end of the season for the traditional area, and that's what I told the guys. Win, lose, whatever happens today, you have to win your match so that you can get a higher seed at area, and if you take care of you then everything else will take care of itself."

Meanwhile, the Patriots also had six pins, led by Zach Walker, Erik Lauritsen, David Plunkett and Dalton Heath.

"They joined together as a team finally," Hooley said. "We've been a bunch of individuals, now tonight they supported each other. When they lost, they still came back and supported each other."

The Bulldogs led the bunch with eight pins from Jake Morris, Luis Ponce, Darryl Brakefield, Jimmy Brown, Muhamad Bois, Lloyd Martell, Rashaud Ferrel and Grady Jarrett.

"I saw some good stuff and I saw some guys who probably could have done a little better," Rockdale coach Craig Hargrove admitted.

According to Hargrove, should Rockdale wrestle to its style the Bulldogs should have no problems containing crosstown rival Heritage.

"We need to stick with our basics that we do and we should be good," Hargrove said. "They're going to be a tough team, regardless if they're young or not. It's the semifinals, so anything can happen."

Jason Murdock can be reached at jason.murdock@rockdalecitizen.com.