Published Thursday, January 17, 2013

Prep Wrestling: Seniors lead East Coweta past Starr's Mill

By DOUG GORMAN

dgorman@newnan.com

After a quick exit from the Class AAAAAA state duals in Macon last weekend, the East Coweta wrestling team has turned its attention to the last month of the season.

It started Wednesday as the Indians hosted Starr’s Mill and Westlake on Senior Night. It was the last regular-season home matches for Drew Higgins, Austin Scales, Jamal Ragland and John Guy.

“These guys have meant so much to our program,” head coach Josh Herring said.

All of the upperclassmen will still have a chance to wrestle again at John Thrower Gym when East Coweta hosts the Area 3-AAAAAA traditional tournament on Saturday, Feb. 2.

East Coweta started the night with a 39-30 victory over Starr’s Mill that was full of controversy after the Panthers were originally given a 36-33 win. The Indians argued that the Panthers’ heavyweight should have forfeited his match after he reported out of order.

The final result was switched in the Indians’ favor after a long discussion.  A check of the rulebook, which included Herring printing a copy of the rule in question from the Internet, was the determing factor in the scoring change.

(To view photos from this event, visit http://photos.times-herald.com/mycapture/ and click on Sports for the Photo Gallery.)

In its match against the Panthers, the Indians picked up pins from Matthew Durham (113 pounds) and Ragland (152).

Durham continues to excel on the mat. The two-time champion at the Fayette County Christmas Classic will be one of the wrestlers Herring is counting on down the stretch.

Ragland wasted little time pinning his opponent, taking a first-round match.

The Indians also had strong showings from Dusty Nelson (106) and Zack Gabriel (120) with easy wins.

Nelson built a 8-2 lead after two periods, then poured it on in the final period en route to a 13-2 victory.

Gabriel turned in one of the most impressive performances of the night, nearly getting a pin a couple of times during his match.

Higgins (138) picked up a victory on Senior Night against the Panthers with a 8-4 decision.

Although the Indians lost a few matches in the middle and heavier weights, Herring said the experience will help down the stretch.

“My goals for this team are just to get the most out of the guys that we can,” he said. “For some, that means making it to area and going from there.”

Herring has been impressed by sophomores Tristan Mann (195) and Dawson Ellis (285) throughout the year.

Against the Panthers they both picked up wins by forfeit but will be counted on down the stretch.

“They are new to the sport, but are showing plenty of ability,” he said.

Final results from the match with Westlake were unavailable at deadline.

© 2011 The Newnan Times-Herald Inc., Newnan, Georgia. Any unauthorized use, copying or mirroring is prohibited.