It was Senior Night at the Soddy Daisy Wrestling Arena on Thursday for the Trojans final dual meet of the season against the rival Bradley Bears.
The Trojans came out firing on all cylinders as they won the first seven matches en route to a convincing 44-24 win over their visitors from Cleveland.
With the win, the pairings are now set for the Region Duals, which will be next Thursday at Ooltewah. Bradley will face Cleveland in one semifinal while Soddy Daisy takes on Walker Valley with both matches set for 7 p.
m. The championship match would follow if the coaches elect to wrestle it.
Brett Brown's second-period pin at 182 stopped the bleeding for the Bears temporarily after the Trojans had built a 35-0 lead, but Christian Dean's 6-4 decision in the next match at 195 sealed the win with just five matches remaining.
Soddy Daisy coach Jim Higgins, who openly admitted before the action ever began that he simply hates events like this because it's so hard so say good-bye to members of his team who have been paying the price, had a look of complete satisfaction on his face after his team won for the 13th time in 17 dual meets.
"Absolutely, I'm happy as it was Senior Night and a big event for these young men. I'm excited that we got a wini as the effort was there from top to bottom as the guys went hard the entire match," Higgins began as those seniors were being introduced.
"I was hoping that we'd start in the heart of our order and we did, so I was really happy to get the big lead early. I thought that Dylan Aslinger did a great job at 220. I was happy to see him win a big match as he's been working as hard as anyone.
"But these guys were all about taking care of business tonight. They went for the throat from the opening whistle, but we didn't want to give Bradley anything to build on," Higgins added.
Bradley's Ben Smith hates losing as much as any coach on earth. He certainly didn't like what he was forced to watch and he had a long closed-door meeting with his team following the final bout.
"We just got taken to the woodshed by those guys, but I need to congratulate Soddy Daisy on a great win. I've been pointing toward this match for a long time and I thought that we were a little closer to them than we are.
"Getting beat is one thing. Getting outfought is what really bothers me. We had a good match with Walker Valley on Tuesday and I thought we had a great practice yesterday. I really thought we had a shot at winning this match, so why would we not be ready to compete tonight?
"It's not okay to just lay down and give up, but I felt like that's what we did in certain places. We just have to find our fight," Smith added.
Austin Houser got Soddy Daisy off and running from the first match with a third-period pin at 126 pounds.
Emory Holcomb followed with a key 8-3 decision at 132 before Tucker Russo and Gage Richmond extended the lead to 21-0 with pins at 138 and 145. Austin Williamson then won an overtime decision at 152 before Garrett Alexander posted a technical fall at 160 and Tyler Hixson got a pin at 170 as the lead swelled to 35-0.
Brown then got Bradley's first points with a pin at 182 before Christian Dean sealed the win with a 6-4 decision at 195. Aslinger then put a little icing on the cake with a second-period pin at 220.
Bradley then finished the match with four straight wins, including decisions from J.J. Johnson and Ryan McElhaney, a pin from Toribio Navarro and a forfeit to Knox Fuller at 120.
IN ANOTHER MATCH on Thursday, Cleveland got pins from Chris DeBien, Koran Kennedy and Tristan Blansit to spark a 39-18 victory over Walker Valley.Billy Raulston had the only pin for the Mustangs.
SODDY DAISY 44, BRADLEY 24
(Match started at 126 Pounds)
106 -- Ryan McElhaney (BC) dec. Chase Payne, 5-2;
113 -- Toribio Navarro (BC) pinned Mason Blevins, 3:36;
120 -- Knox Fuller (BC) won by forfeit;
126 -- Austin Houser (SD) pinned Hunter Parker, 4:38;
132 -- Emory Holcomb (SD) dec. Taylor Kazy, 8-3;
138 -- Tucker Russo (SD) pinned Stephen Scott, 3:32;
145 -- Gage Richmond (SD) pinned Caleb Adkins, 1:27;
152 -- Austin Williamson (SD) dec. Colter McConnell, 7-5 in overtime;
160 -- Garrett Alexander (SD) won by technical fall over Greg Wilson, 4:05;
170 -- Tyler Hixson (SD) pinned Corey Gablin, 2:46;
182 -- Brett Brown (BC) pinned Hunter Maynor, 3:18;
195 -- Christian Dean (SD) dec. Zach McFarland, 6-4;
220 -- Dylan Aslinger (SD) pinned Eddie Shalchick, 2:17;
285 -- J.J. Johnson (BC) dec. Trace McNew, 6-3.
CLEVELAND 39, WALKER VALLEY 18
(Match started at 120 Pounds)
106 -- Drake Haney (WV) dec. Colton Landers, 9-7;
113 -- Tristan Blansit (C) pinned Zane Smith;
120 -- Taylor Bishop (C) dec. Logan Smith, 9-3;
126 -- Chris DeBien (C) pinned Austin Gregory, 3:28;
132 -- Austin Stevison (C) dec. Joseph Munoz, 4-2;
138 -- Ezra Taylor (C) major dec. Mikal Gregory, 12-1;
145 -- Tyrus Hamrick (WV) dec. William Haas, 7-5;
152 -- Jonathan Martin (C) major dec. Dionte Richardson, 12-1;
160 -- Ryan Hager (WV) dec. Aaron Oliver, 3-1;
170 -- Josh Hamilton (C) dec. Lawrence Cotton, 4-1;
182 -- Billy Raulston (WV) pinned Samuel Garcia, 1:06;
195 -- Ethan West (C) major dec. Ric Kennett, 13-0;
220 -- Koran Kennedy (C) pinned Xzayvier Beckingham, 5:05;
285 -- Zach Miller (WV) dec. John Gaither, 4-3.
(Email John Hunt at email@example.com)