High School Wrestling

Vikings get small dose of revenge against Cougars

by Chris Goltermann

Newnan and Northgate wrestling lineups ended the week looking much different than each did at Wednesday’s Coweta County Championships, with coaching staffs having to dig deep into the roster to fill spots.

The result left the Cougars and Vikings gutting out five matches apiece at the Northgate Duals Saturday against the likes of Douglas County, LaGrange, Westlake and St. Francis.

Equally, a much antici- pated rematch from Wednesday’s championships between Newnan and Northgate, a 36-35 Cougar win, was a bit more sub- dued without many of the same faces.

But it didn’t stop the Vikings from feeling more than satisfied with a 40-33 win in another close match between county rivals.

Pins by freshman Austin Bailey at 120 pounds and Ryan McNeal at 126 gave Northgate a lead for good, though Newnan hung within one point throughout. The Cougars closed the gap to 28-27 on Christopher Grier’s second-period pin at 138 pounds, and then after giving up a forfeit at 145, picked up another pin by Bradlay Cobb at 152 to again close within a point.

Newnan, though, didn’t have a challenger at 160, increasing Northgate’s final margin of victory to seven.

The Cougars lost three points along the way due to a flagrant misconduct at the close of Antonio Bandiera’s 8-6 win over Northgate 132-pound opponent Angel Fuentes in the best one-on-one matchup between lineups.

The effort accounted for the Vikings’ only win of the tourna- ment while struggling against both LaGrange (60-24) and St. Francis (60-18) during the final three rounds. Against St. Francis, Fuentes picked up a first- round pin while Jacob Kessinger lost a tough decision at 113 pounds.

Kessinger earned a decision against LaGrange while Fuentes and McNeal also added victories.

Northgate was without light- weight Frankie Ariello, freshman Kyle Cater (182), Blake Lamb (190) and heavyweight Reginald Ellis from Wednesday’s lineup.

“We’re missing a bunch of guys. Some are sick and we have some that are hurt,” said Northgate assistant coach Blake Turner near the halfway point of the event.

Newnan coaches were equally trying to survive minus a good portion of Wednesday’s roster. Among those out were 220-pound junior Christian Shellabarger, who is trying to recover from a shoulder injury suffered during the football season.

“We’ve just have a bunch of guys hurt right now,” said Newnan head coach Sean Hage. “I’ve never seen this many concussions this early in a season.”

The Cougars were dealt their share of tough breaks on Saturday. Along with the slim loss to Northgate, Newnan dropped a 42-41 decision to St. Francis despite battling back late to pick up pins from Bandiera in the second period and Grier in the first. Nick Robinson (170), Tre Goggins (195) and Zack Stevenson (113) also earned pins in the loss.

Newnan closed the event with a 43-42 loss to Westlake, though it took a fifth tiebreaker to do it after officials had to dig out the rulebook.

The Lions jumped out to an 12-0 lead before Newnan heavyweight James Godfrey was credited with a win due to a disqualification when his opponent continued to be called for locking his hands.

Three straight Westlake forfeits and a pin by Stevenson pulled the Cougars ahead 30-12. Grier pushed the Newnan lead to 36-18 with a first-period pin, but a pair of forfeits and a Westlake pin brought the match even heading into the final two weight classes.

Robinson put Newnan ahead a final time with a quick pin, but without a wrestler at 182 pounds, the Cougars had to forfeit to keep the match tied at 42 heading into the tiebreaker.

Both Newnan and Westlake will meet again next Saturday at Newnan while North- gate and East Coweta head to the Fayette County Christmas Classic starting Friday.

The Indians were on the road Saturday at the annual Tommy Warren Duals in Oconee County

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