CLEVELAND -- For those folks who were hoping to see a rematch of Cleveland-Soddy Daisy in the Region 3 Duals here at Cleveland High School Thursday night, you might want to start making plans to be at the Williamson County Agricultural Expo Center next Saturday night.
Soddy Daisy beat Cleveland in the State Duals last year and both teams took a step back to a possible rematch with important wins Thursday.
Soddy Daisy more than had its hands full before getting past an emotionally-charged Walker Valley team by a 33-24 final in a match that was a whole lot closer than you might realize.
Cleveland looked a bit more impressive in its 43-36 win over Bradley in a match that wasn't as close as you might gather by the final score.
The Blue Raiders built a 43-6 lead before Bradley won the final five matches, including four by forfeit.
Cleveland improves to 21-2 while Soddy Daisy is now 16-3. Bradley falls to 19-5 while Walker Valley is now 26-6.
SODDY DAISY 33, WALKER VALLEY 24: The Mustangs had a tough match with Cleveland on Wednesday night, but they didn't show any signs of fatigue or lack of effort as they gave the Trojans all they wanted and more.
Tucker Russo's major decision at 126 gave the Trojans a quick 4-0 lead to open the action, but it took back-to-back pins from Austin Houser and Jacob Stevens in the final two bouts to secure the win and a spot in next weekend's tournament.
"We don't want to let anyone down, but it will be better for us to wrestle them in Franklin next weekend than here tonight," said Soddy Daisy coach Jim Higgins.
"Of course, we have to get to the finals first, which is never a guaranteed thing, but the most important thing for us tonight was advancing to the state next week. We didn't look very good and I'm not very pleased with our effort, but I'm thankful we won as we did what we had to do to get there.
"Everyone gets hit on the chin every now and then and that was certainly the case tonight, but the key is how we get back up and respond. We could have tucked our tails and run, but we didn't. One of our two big goals is getting to the two state tournaments. I feel like we deserve to be there," Higgins added.
While Russo gave Soddy Daisy the early lead, decisions from Tyrus Hamrick and Caleb Langford followed by a pin from Lawrence Cotton gave Walker Valley a 12-4 lead.
A technical fall by Turbo Smith and an overtime decision by Branndon Hunt knotted the score at 12-12 before Chase Gregory's 8-4 decision at 170 gave the lead back to the Mustangs.
The score was tied again at 15-15 and 21-21 before Walker Valley grabbed the lead for the last time on the strength of a 12-10 decision by Drake Haney over Jacob McClure at 106.
Haney had a five-point move late in the second period to take a 10-7 lead, but McClure knotted things up with an escape to begin the third and a takedown with 43 seconds remaining. Haney scored a reversal with 20 seconds to go for the difference.
Houser and Stevens then won by pins to save the day for the Trojans.
"We came up a little bit short, but we knew they would be tough. I hate losing, but I can't ever remember a better effort from our team. I couldn't be any more proud of them," said Walker Valley coach Allan Morris.
"Drake Haney has really come on in these last two days and he's a gamer right now. We still have some individual goals to work for," he added.
CLEVELAND 43, BRADLEY 36: The Blue Raiders won eight of the first nine matches to take control early, including five by pin, one by major decision and one by forfeit.
Austin Oliver gave the Blue Raiders an early lift with a 7-3 decision at 126 while Haden Hamilton, Joel Simpkins, Josh Hamilton, Sean von Potts and Ethan West all followed with pins while Aaron Lopez had a 9-1 major decision at 160.
Bradley got pins from Steven Scott at 145 and Toribio Navarro at 106 while Zack McFarland, J.J. Johnson, Dyer Rose and Taylor Mantooth all received forfeits after the outcome had already been decided.
"We had a big match with Walker Valley last night and we got the job done well enough to be able to rest some kids tonight," said Cleveland coach Jake Yost.
"For the most part, we did what we had to do. We could have fought harder in a few spots, but I was really proud of Austin Oliver as he beat a really tough kid in Dakota Ream. We really didn't want to take any chance of getting anyone hurt, so that's why we forfeited at the end.
"We were really looking forward to wrestling Soddy Daisy again, but I understand the situation they're in. Maybe we'll be able to face them next weekend," Yost added.
Bradley had gotten thumped 63-9 by Cleveland just a few weeks back. The Bears came up short again, but coach Ben Smith was encouraged by what he saw in this most recent match.
"We had five starters out, but overall I thought our fight was better. We had four or five JV kids who got a chance to take a swing, but for us, it's about regaining some respect. I know that we're better than what we showed tonight. We look good against other teams, but we lose our confidence when we meet teams like Cleveland and Soddy Daisy.
"I see the potential in our kids. If only we could realize it in the big matches," Smith added.
SODDY DAISY 33, WALKER VALLEY 24
(Match started at 126 Pounds)
106 -- Drake Haney (WV) dec. Jacob McClure, 12-10;
113 -- Austin Houser (SD) pinned Logan Smith, 4:37;
120 -- Jacob Stevens (SD) pinned Braxter Brewer, :55;
126 -- Tucker Russo (SD) major dec. Joseph Munoz, 16-4;
132 -- Tyrus Hamrick (WV) dec. Alex Oliver, 9-4;
138 -- Caleb Langford (WV) dec. Austin Williamson, 9-3;
145 -- Lawrence Cotton (WV) pinned Sheldon Roberson, 3:05;
152 -- Turbo Smith (SD) won by technical fall over Ryan Hager, 4:24;
160 -- Branndon Hunt (SD) dec. Micah Langford, 3-1 in overtime;
170 -- Chase Gregory (WV) dec. Garrett Alexander, 8-4;
182 -- Christian Dean (SD) dec. Ric Kennett, 5-2;
195 -- Blaike Henry (SD) dec. Billy Raulston, 3-2;
220 -- Zack Miller (WV) pinned Tyler Hixson, 2:48;
285 -- Luke Reno (SD) dec. Samuel Dworak, 3-1.
CLEVELAND 43, BRADLEY CENTRAL 36
(Match started at 126 Pounds)
106 -- Toribio Navarro (BC) pinned Tristan Blansit, 3:48;
113 -- Dyer Rose (BC) won by forfeit;
120 -- Taylor Mantooth (BC) won by forfeit;
126 -- Austin Oliver (C) dec. Dakota Ream, 7-3;
132 -- Haden Hamilton (C) pinned Hunter Parker, 1:03;
138 -- Joel Simpkins (C) pinned Donnie Byer, :49;
145 -- Steven Scott (BC) pinned Eli Isenhower, 2:34;
152 -- Josh Hamilton (C) pinned Jacob Staton, 1:22;
160 -- Aaron Lopez (C) major dec. Robbie Clark, 9-1;
170 -- Sean von Potts (C) pinned Eric Goins, 1:59;
182 -- Ethan West (C) pinned Nathan Adams, 1:26;
195 -- Oleg Stukanov (C) won by forfeit;
220 -- Zack McFarland (BC) won by forfeit;
285 -- Jerry Johnson (BC) won by forfeit.
(email John Hunt at firstname.lastname@example.org)