FRANKLIN, Tenn. -- It was a good day for Cleveland and Soddy Daisy in the first day of competition here in the TSSAA State Duals wrestling tournament at the Williamson County Agricultural Expo.
The same couldn't be said for A-AA competitors Central and Hixson.
The defending AAA champion Blue Raiders of Cleveland looked methodical and businesslike as they breezed to a couple of wins, including a 58-12 romp over Beech in the first round and then a 43-36 verdict over Knoxville Halls in the quarters, a match that wasn't nearly as close after Cleveland forfeited the final five weights after wrapping up the victory, its 25th of the season against three defeats.
Soddy Daisy had a real battle on its hands in the first round, but rallied to beat Heritage by a 39-36 final. The Trojans were much more on track in their 49-27 victory over Brentwood in their second match.
Cleveland will face Ravenwood in one semifinal match at 1 p.m. (CST) on Saturday while Soddy Daisy will face Wilson Central in the other semifinal, a rematch of last year when the Wildcats shocked the Trojans by a 39-31 final.
Central's Purple Pounders came out on the short end of a 50-30 final against Eagleville and will face White House in the consolation round at 9 a..m. Saturday.
Hixson rolled to a 48-28 victory over East Literature in the A-AA quarters before getting sent to the consolation bracket following a 33-28 setback to Pigeon Forge.
Hixson awaits the Central-White House winner in the second round of consolations.
Cleveland coach Jake Yost was more cool than a cucumber the Blue Raiders' two wins.
"We had a couple of close ones, but I thought we did pretty well," Yost said after the second win.
"So far we're doing well, but we don't want to take a chance on anyone getting hurt and that's why we forfeited the last five matches. We have two down and two to go, but we need to get out of here, get something to eat and get to bed since it's getting late," Yost added.
Soddy Daisy coach Jim Higgins said that he wasn't tense during the Trojans match with Heritage, but he had enough strong words for his team afterward to suggest that he was more nervous and bothered than he first admitted.
"I'm just glad to get out with a win, but I've always felt better looking bad and winning instead of looking good and losing. We've been known to start slow all season and I don't know how to correct that, but there are times when you run into teams that want to win just as bad as you do," Higgins added.
Soddy Daisy assistant Brad Laxton agreed that the entire team was breathing a whole lot easier after that second win over Brentwood.
"We came out and took care of business and we're moving on now," he said while members of the Trojans picked up their stuff and started heading toward the upper level.
"It was good that we won that first match and got off on the right foot and we can live with that kind of effort. Now we get a shot at redemption tomorrow afternoon," Laxton nodded.
There wasn't much positive to say for Central after they got beaten pretty handily by the Eagles.
Coach John Lennon just hopes that his young team will benefit from such an embarrassing start.
"I think that Eagleville came ready to wrestle and we didn't, but our inexperience showed up tonight," Lennon began.
"We can't afford to give up pins at the state duals and that's what we did in too many cases. I just hope that we learned something from it," he said.
It was a roller-coaster ride for Hixson and coach Garrick Hall. The Wildcats were hoping to get back to Saturday night's championship match, but they'll be battling for third place for the fourth straight year.
"I'm happy to get that first one out of the way, but we have to stay focused," Hall began after the win over East Literature.
"We were sloppy and flat in places, but other places we looked pretty sharp.
"But the lack of bonus points in that last match killed us. Pigeon Forge has a really good team and they just beat us. They got pins where they had to have them and we didn't, but I just asked my guys who would be ready to battle first thing tomorrow morning. They all raised their hands.
"These guys have all worked so hard and that's why I hate it for them to lose a match like this. Pigeon Forge is solid from top to bottom and we knew it would be a battle. That should have been the match for the finals, but these kids knew what they were up against," Hall concluded.
BAYLOR BEAT McCallie in the Division II semifinal and will face Father Ryan in the championship match Saturday night.
All three championship matches will begin at 7 p.m. CST.
Go to www.trackwrestlling.com for individual match results.
(Email John Hunt at firstname.lastname@example.org)