[EDITOR’S NOTE: The following appeared on the South Georgia Matmen web site.}
It’s official: Jeff Davis’ Yellow Jacket Duals is the biggest duals tournament the coverage area will see all season.
Big in terms of scope, yes, as 28 teams converged on two gyms last weekend, (the JV Stinger Slam is also staged over the course of the weekend) but big, also, in terms of star power.
And two teams (among others) with chances to not only qualify, but do well, at next month’s GHSA state dual tournament at the Macon Centreplex finished third and fourth, respectively in the tournament, as Ware and Coffee battled to the last match — literally — before the Gators won, 42-41.
Coffee got out to a 24-6 lead, with pins from Tayon Wimberly (170), Brandon High (220) and Jesus Riano (285). Ware cut that lead to 24-18, with the Gators’ Landon Simmons (106) winning by fall, but then the Trojans ran the lead back out to 36-18 on pins from Tayshaun Pope (120) and Zane Cumbass (126).
Ware then tied it up on back-to-back-to-back falls from Jon Robertson (132), Kahlil Clowers (138) and Jeremy Butler (145). Coffee rebuilt a lead on Gregory Lacoste’s 15-0 tech at 152, so it came down to 160.
There, the Gators’ Banner Thomas — with this tournament being his first appearance of the year at 160 — secured a late fall (5:26) to give the Gators third and some area bragging right.
Ware got to the third-place match by winning Pool B, with victories over Fitzgerald (54-27), MCA (78-6), Screven (77-5), Turner (69-9), Loganville (49-30) and Wayne (72-12). The Gators then defeated Statesboro, 54-24, in the gold bracket quarterfinals, but then took a 38-27 loss to out-of-area Oglethorpe, the eventual champion, in the semis.
Two Ware wrestlers were 9-0 and a third 8-0 on the weekend. The Gators’ Jeremy Butler (145, 7 pins) was one of two wrestlers, among in-area competition that we fully recapped, to “max-point” through the tournament (score maximum 6 points in each dual that the team wrestled), going 9-0. Kooper Thomas (182, 7 pins, injury-default and major) also was 9-0 for the Gators, while Banner Thomas (160/170, 4 pins, 2 majors & 2 decisions) was 8-0.
Ware’s Banner Thomas (head to left) secures a fall during wrestling at the Yellow Jacket Duals, hosted by Jeff Davis. Thomas’ fall in the final match of the dual against Coffee helped the Gators win, 42-41, and placed third, tops among area teams (Photo submitted by Joe Eichfeld).
Ethan Frye (113, 2 pins) was 8-1 for Ware, while Clowers (138, 4 pins & decision) was 7-2 among regular starters for Ware. Landon Simmons (106, 2 pins) was 6-3, with Anthony Phillips (120, 2 pins & tech) and Tyler Nipper (220, 2 pins) were both 5-3 and Gavin Moore (285, 2 pins) 5-4.
Ware had a few starters make regular, but not exclusive, starts, generating solid records as well, with Cannon White (160/170, 5 pins) going 5-1 and Dylan Sikes (152, 3 pins) 5-2.
Oglethorpe and fellow out-of-area team Lexington were 1-2, respectively, with Oglethorpe (8-1 in the tournament) defeating Lexington (8-1 in the tournament), 33-30, in the finals.
Jeff Davis (3-3 in Pool A, 2-1 in silver bracket, 10th overall): The Yellow Jackets kicked off their season by hosting the area’s biggest duals tournament of the year, taking wins in pool play over Telfair (48-36) in their second dual, Bacon (78-6) in their third and Swainsboro (57-15) in their fourth. Jeff Davis then took second in the silver bracket, with wins over Wayne (46-21) and Vidalia (36-33), falling to Toombs (45-33). In addition to losses noted above, the Yellow Jackets also lost to Lexington (78-6) and Islands (43-36). Jesse White (113/120/126, 5 pins) was Jeff Davis’ top wrestler on the weekend, with an 8-1 tournament, while Gage Turner (220, 3 pins) was 6-2. Among those starters that competed in every dual, Jevarion Coleman (160/170, 3 pins & decision), Orlando Payan (170/182, 2 pins) and Caleb O’steen (285, 4 pins) were all 5-4. Among regular but not exclusive starters, Billy White (113/120, 4 pins & decision) was 5-2, while Jerry Hampton (120/126/132, 3 pins) was 4-2 and Brian White (145, pin & 2 decisions) and Gregory Chambers (195, 2 pins) each were 4-3 for Jeff Davis.