Businessman Allan Jones – long known as Cleveland wrestling’s biggest supporter – honored crosstown rival Bradley Central on Monday night at the team’s annual banquet.
Jones handed out custom trophies to the Bradley coaching staff and said he had watched wrestling for 50 years but never seen a match as exciting as the TSSAA Finals, held in February in Franklin, TN.
“It was important to be here tonight to give recognition to what is one of the greatest coaching feats I’ve ever seen,” Jones said. “Seeing Bradley close the gap on Cleveland three times this year leading up to the finals made this the greatest year in the Cleveland-Bradley rivalry – and one of the greatest years in Tennessee wrestling history.”
The three instances Jones mentioned were:
Dual Meet (1/13/22) - Cleveland 50, Bradley 18 (32 point deficit, Cleveland won 10 to Bradley's 4).
TSSAA Region Finals (1/27/22) - Cleveland 42, Bradley 23 (19 point deficit, 13 points made up, Cleveland won 9 matches to Bradley's 5)
TSSAA Finals (2/5/22) - Cleveland 34, Bradley 28 – it all came down to the last match. (13 more points made up, Cleveland won 7 matches & Bradley won 7 matches)
Bradley Coaches honored at the banquet were:
- Ben Smith, Head Coach
- Bryant Blackmon, Assistant Coach
- Austin Mathews (only one "t" in his last name), Assistant Coach
- Justin Anglin, Assistant Coach
- Shawn Cordell, Assistant Coach
- Brent Belcher, Assistant Coach
- Ryan Ensminger, Assistant Coach
- Aaron Hicks, Assistant Coach
- Craig Bennett, Assistant Coach
On Tuesday night, Jones will host the Cleveland wrestling banquet and cheerleading banquet at his Cleveland estate. The Blue Raiders will be honored by the businessman for winning five straight state championships and eight in the last 10 years.