By ZACH BIRDSONG
Back-to-back losses ended Tullahoma’s stay in the TSSAA State Dual Championships after losing to Arlington 40-31 on Saturday morning.
For just the fifth time in school history, the Wildcats earned a spot into the state tournament, but were defeated 39-35 by Wilson Central in the opener on Friday. Arlington fell to Science Hill 35-28 setting up Saturday morning’s consolation bracket matchup.
With the score tied at 13, Arlington gained control, winning four-straight matchups, taking a 34-13 lead. Harrison Phillips pinned (six points) Braxton Potts with 52 seconds left in the 138-pound bout. Austin Baudoin followed by pinning Josh Fournier with 44 seconds left in the second round of the 145-pound matchup.
Tullahoma’s Zack Bonee held a 4-2 lead over Josh Worley in the 152-pound matchup. However, Worely dominated the final period, scoring a 9-4 decision (three points). Austin Antcliffe pinned Brian Nelms with one second left in the first round 160-pound bout, giving his team a commanding lead.
Edward Garland (170) won by forfeit (six points) for Tullahoma, before Arlington sealed the match with a win by pin. Aaron Moore pinned Brenden Adkins with 54 seconds left in the 182-pound matchup.
Alex Pursley (195) and Akil Hicks (220) closed out the match with forfeit wins for Tullahoma.
Johnthan Metcalf opened Saturday by getting Arlington on the board first, after Metcalf won a tight 1-0 decision over Luke Champion in the 285-pound bout.
However, Tullahoma grabbed the lead after back-to-back wins. Jackson Richards won by forfeit in the 106-pound division, before Cal Rogers followed with a 4-3 decision over Caleb Morgan in the 113-pound bout.
Arlington tied things up as Michael Cannon pinned Will Moran with seven seconds left in the first round of the 120-pound matchup, evening up the score at 9.
Luke Price gave Tullahoma its second lead of the matchup shortly with a major decision (four points) over Justin Donahue, dominating in a 16-3 victory in the 126-pound bout.
Luke Kerns helped spark Arlington’s momentum, evening up the score with a major decision of his own. Kerns defeated Sam Dean 16-6 in the 132-pound matchup, tying the score at 13.
Tullahoma falls to Wilson Central
Tullahoma may have won the opening bout, but Wilson Central dominated the remainder of the matchup and was able to forfeit the final four decisions, picking up the 39-35 win on Friday.
With Wilson Central leading 39-11, Price, Dean, Potts and Aaron Kelly (145) all won their bouts by forfeit, to close out the matchup.
Bonee opened things against Wilson Central with a major decision win, downing Matthew Hester 10-0, to put Tullahoma in front 4-0.
However, back-to-back pins and a forfeit gave Wilson Central an 18-4 lead. Sinjin Noga pinned Nelms with 1:44 left in the second round. Damon Smith followed by pinning Adkins (172) with 50 seconds left in the first round before Niko Noga (182) won by forfeit.
Pursley followed with a major decision for Tullahoma, cutting it to an 18-8 matchup. Pursley dominated in a 16-3 victory over Daniel Hills.
Hicks and Aundres Trotter needed overtime to settle a winner after being tied at 1 at the end of the matchup. The score was still tied at 1 after the first sudden victory overtime, setting up two 30-second periods. Trotter grabbed a 5-1 lead after the first 30-second period, before pinning Hicks with seven seconds remaining in the second round.
Michael Kramer followed by pinning Champion with 14 seconds left in the first round, putting Wilson Central up 30-8.
Rogers followed with the final nonforfeit win for Tullahoma, winning a 10-4 decision over Grant Fetters in the 106-pound bout, making it a 30-11 matchup.
Gage Bachus defeated Moran by way of a 5-4 decision in the 113-pound bout before Sean Sesnan (120) won by forfeit for Wilson Central.
With the state duals in the book, the Tullahoma boy wrestlers will host the Region 5 Individual Tournament on Friday and Saturday. The two-day tournament will open on Friday at 6 p.m. and 10:30 a.m. on Friday. The top four finishers in each weight class will advance to the TSSAA Individual State Tournament in Franklin on Feb. 16-18.