High School Wrestling
Indians use 7 pins to hold off Vikings
by Chris Goltermann
East Coweta’s wrestling team — even without a couple of key pieces to the lineup — performed much in the same fashion Tuesday at Northgate as it did while capturing its second consecutive Coweta County Championship in December.
But that’s not to say that the Vikings continued to close the gap between rivals, either.
The Indians put together seven pins, six of which came in the first period, to overcome an early four-point deficit en route to a 46-29 victory in a bit more friendlier setting than the first meeting between county schools.
While battling it out for the inaugural Adrian Anderson Trophy at East Coweta last month, Tuesday’s matchup at Northgate High’s old gym brought an equally spirited, yet somewhat more subdued backdrop for two lineups focused on improving themselves prior to respective area traditional tournaments to begin February.
Alex Sorenson (220), Dakota Ellis (275), Dusty Nelson (106), Zack Gabriel (120), James Walker (152), Zack Wallace (160) and Kevin Lashley (170) earned pins for the Indians coming off last weekend’s trip to the GHSA Class AAAAAA Duals and on a night where the team was without senior starters Matthew Durham and Blake Green as well as head coach Josh Herring.
Former ECHS individual state champion and lay coach Christian Flavin joined father, Jeff, and fellow longtime Indians coach Buck Roetman with leading the team from its corner of the mat.
Meanwhile, Northgate’s young lineup picked up consecutive victories from Ryan McNeal on a 16-1 tech fall before a pair of pins from senior Angel Fuentes and Conner Lawson to grab a short-lived 29-27 lead with four matches to go.
From there, a pair of freshmen, Viking Brady McCloud and Indian Garrett Klinger, went the distance at 145 pounds in a 4-0 decision by Klinger that turned the tide in East Coweta’s favor for good, with the match ending with three quick pins, the latter from Wallace and Lashley in less than 40 seconds apiece.
“We’re a very young team, but we’re improving,” said Northgate first-year head coach John Waters. “I’m proud of a guy like Ryan McNeal picking up a win tonight. Guys like Angel and Conner. And Jacob Kessinger had a heck of a match.”
The match began at 182 pounds with its closest decision as Northgate’s Blake Lamb and East Coweta’s Dakota Beasley traded leads through six minutes. After Beasley gave up an escape to force a 6-6 tie, Lamb tied up his opponent for more than a minute before earning a go-ahead takedown.
But just as quickly, Lamb gave it back up with the second of three technical violations for illegal moves, with the third in the closing seconds putting Beasley on top for a 9-8 win.
“Our guys sometimes get into that zone where they’re just so focused on the match, and that’s a good thing. But sometimes they’re too focused to hear what we’re telling them,” said Waters, who along with assistants Blake Turner and Chris Kimes tried to prevent Lamb from committing the violations. “They’re learning and it’s a process. Some nights we’ve had one group step up and another night it’s another group. We’ve just got to put it all together. But we’re making improvements and I’m pleased about that.”
Meanwhile, East Coweta, which finished second to Douglas County at the Area 3-AAAAAA Duals continued to gain momentum heading toward its host 3-AAAAAA traditional tournament on Feb. 1., at John Thrower Gym.
Nelson and Walker — each of whom picked up wins in both of the Indians matches at the state duals — picked up first-period pins to help lead the way.
East Coweta now heads to this weekend’s eighth annual Sham Slam at Habersham Central starting Friday.
Newnan, which hosted LaGrange on Tuesday, travels to the annual Whitewater Brawl in Fayetteville. Northgate will host New Manchester next Tuesday.
East Coweta 46, Northgate 29
182 — Dakota Beasley (EC) won dec. Blake Lamb (NG) 9-8; 195 — Reid Geddie (NG) won forfeit; 220 — Alex Sorenson (EC) pinned Dalton Elliott (NG), 1st period; 275 — Dawson Ellis (EC) pinned Ramsey Rutherford (NG), 0:16; 106 — Dusty Nelson (EC) pinned Frank Ariello (NG), 1:46; 113 — Jacob Kessinger (NG) pinned Baxter (EC), 2:33; 120 — Zack Gabriel (EC) pinned Rob McNeal (NG), 1:14; 126 — Ryan McNeal (NG) won tech fall over Corey Chambers (EC), 16-1; 132 — Angel Fuentes (NG) pinned Leo Olivas (EC), 1:57; 138 — Conner Lawson (NG) won pin, 1:19; 145 — Garrett Klinger (EC) def. Brady McCloud (NG), 4-0; 152 — James Walker (EC) pinned Zach Lee (NG), 1:24; 160 — Zack Wallace (EC) pinned Alexander DiTaranto (NG), 0:36; 170 — Kevin Lashley (EC) pinned Hans Wilson, 0:24.