The East Ridge Pioneers wasted very little time taking care of business in their wrestling match with the Hixson Wildcats Tuesday night.
Taking just over 40 minutes from the first whistle to the last, the home-standing Pioneers tuned up for Friday's big match with Notre Dame by winning 11 of the 12 matches contested, including 10 by pin, as they waltzed to a 63-18 victory.
Hixson has already qualified for the State Duals on Feb. 1-2, but the Wildcats were seriously short-handed on Tuesday with more than half of their team either hurt or sick.
Rather than cancelling the meet, Hixson coach Garrick Hall saw it as an opportunity for some of his younger and less-experienced wrestlers to see an opponent other than a practice-room teammate. The Wildcats didn't respond to the challenge as the Pioneers ripped and romped to their 23rd victory against seven defeats.
"We got a lot of pins, but this is a nice momentum builder for Friday's match with Notre Dame," East Ridge coach Brad Laxton said after the last match had ended.
"It's kind of bittersweet because we're wanting to get better, but with all of the quick pins, we didn't have much time to work on anything. We know that wasn't their varsity squad, but it's hard to not be happy with the intensity and the effort that our kids showed.
"I really didn't know what to expect, but I hope we learned something from it. I know they got a good look at what we have to offer," Laxton said, knowing that if his team beats the Fighting Irish on Friday, they'll join the Wildcats for the A-AA State Duals in Franklin next weekend.
Konnor Zeigler and Travis Roberson both received forfeits for Hixson in the first two matches, but the only other win recorded by the Wildcats was a second-period pin by Tarik Twitty at 170.
Spencer Griffy was the only East Ridge wrestler who didn't earn a pin, but he did record a topsy-turvy 17-12 decision at 126 that drew the Pioneers to within 12-9.
Seven of the 10 pins by the Pioneers took place in the first period, including six in the first minute.
Robert McAvoy had the quickest at 23 seconds while teammates Brandon Whitley and Kendall Small were both finished in 27 seconds.
Justin Hitchcock was victorious in 30 seconds while Brandon Cantrell needed just 32 seconds and Nakota Culver 44.
C.J. Baker had the other first-period pin in 1:32 at 220.
Josh Kilgore, DeAngelo Johnson and Will Garner had the other East Ridge pins.
Hixson's Hall wasn't really surprised or shocked at the final outcome. However, he was somewhat disappointed that more of his guys didn't respond to the challenge.
"It went about as planned. We had a few guys who scrapped and fought, but this was a good chance for some of our younger guys to see what competition like this is all about. They found out what they were made of.
"We were looking to see who had the guts to really battle in a tough situation. A lot of them had a good opportunity, but most of them didn't take advantage," Hall added.
While East Ridge improves to 23-7 with Tuesday's win, Hixson is now 18-5.
EAST RIDGE 63, HIXSON 18
(Match started at 106 Pounds)
106 -- Konnor Zeigler (H) won by forfeit;
113 -- Travis Roberson (H) won by forfeit;
120 -- Brandon Whitley (ER) pinned Nick Underwood, :27;
126 -- Spencer Griffy (ER) dec. Isaac Yates, 17-12;
132 -- Justin Hitchcock (ER) pinned Attalla Aziz, :30;
138 -- Robert McAvoy (ER) pinned Conner Keefe, :23;
145 -- Josh Kilgore (ER) pinned Ronny Huff, 5:02;
152 -- Kendall Small (ER) pinned Parker Ward, :27;
160 -- DeAngelo Johnson (ER) pinned Spencer Waites, 3:05;
170 -- Tarik Twitty (H) pinned Tabrin Walker, 3:32;
182 -- Nakota Culver (ER) pinned Blake Oakley, :44;
195 -- Brandon Cantrell (ER) pinned John Green, :32;
220 -- C.J. Baker (ER) pinned Austin Gilkey, 1:32;
285 -- Will Garner (ER) pinned Rasaan Sanders, 2:16.
(Email John Hunt at email@example.com)