North wrestling smokes South

Published 3:37 pm Tuesday, January 23, 2018

A year after getting swept by South Davie’s wrestling team, North Davie returned the favor in 2017-18. And it was clear following a 68-24 smoking that North is simply the better team this time around.

The Wildcats captured 12 of 16 weight classes and nine of 13 pins as they improved to 13-2 with their 13th consecutive victory. It’s the most wins in 10 years. The match was held at South on Jan. 16.

“Russell (Hilton, South’s coach) moved some people around, and I told Ethan (Curtis) we’re going to be in a dogfight,” North coach Jamey Holt said. “But from top to bottom, that’s as good as we’ve wrestled this year. There wasn’t anywhere I could look back and say we could have done this or that.”

North wrestled wonderfully, but South could have held a 9-0 or bigger lead in the early going. But in the first match at 85, South’s Landon Nichols was disqualified late in the first period for locking hands for the third time. Spencer Melton was the winner by DQ, staking North to a 6-0 lead.

“I hate the way we won at 85,” Holt said. “At the end of the match, it didn’t make a huge difference. But that got us going.”

Hilton did not agree with the call.

“The locking of the hands was a big shift in momentum,” he said. “I think the last one was controversial. There is reaction time when you take him down. (The referee) didn’t let Landon have enough reaction time to unlock his hands. They weren’t locked to begin with; his fingers were just touching.”

South’s Reid Nail pinned at 92 to tie the match at 6-6.

“He got it with a head lever,” Hilton said. “He’s been wrestling really good and he’s only a sixth grader. So he’s going to be tough for us the next two years.”

But after Nail’s shining moment, North wreaked havoc from 100 through 140, killing all suspense with a 38-0 run over seven weight classes.

Lane Hill (100) got it going with a first-period pin, and JT Richards (108) followed with a second-period pin. At 115, Blake Jenkins overcame a three-point deficit in the first period and wound up pinning Chance Jones in the third.

“Blake was in a dogfight,” Holt said. “As the match was going, I didn’t foresee a pin there. I thought we could eventually pull it out.”

That was a coulda/shoulda letdown for Jones and the Tigers. Jones was doing well until he got hurt. Then he sucked it up and fought with all he had for five minutes.

“In the second period, we were trying to run a cradle and somehow (Jenkins) rolled on top of (Jones) and (Jenkins’) shoulder came down on (Jones’) sternum and rib,” Hilton said. “Chance was hurting out there. He was in pain. If he doesn’t get hurt, that’s a close match.”

North’s Logan Yokley rolled up an 11-2 major decision at 122. At 128, Hunter Testa’s intensity reached a new level as he delivered a 9-0 major decision to push North’s lead to 32-6.

“The guy they moved down (Brian Reyes) is a tough wrestler, and Hunter had the height disadvantage,” Holt said. “When we got in the locker room, I told the guys that’s what it takes. Hunter was tough on top the whole match, he wrestled smart and wrestled with intensity. He stepped up big and he got other guys motivated. He’s got a lot of potential.”

“Hunter wrestled his butt off,” Hilton said of the North sixth grader. “He’s much improved since the last time. He works hard at Combat, so he’s going to be a tough one the next few years.”

Collin Bailey (134) and Sam Collins (140) capped the 38-0 explosion with back-to-back pins, with Collins’ coming in 26 seconds.

It was 44-6 before South picked up its second win of the day. That was a second-period pin from Jack Jarvis, who took down a tough opponent in Jadon Davis.

“I knew Jadon was going to have his hands full with Jack,” Holt said. “They’re both strong bulls and it’s going to be who can grab who first.”

Making the moment even sweeter for Jarvis, this was a payback win.

“That’s a kid he lost to last time we wrestled,” Hilton said. “He was winning that match 8-2 and just didn’t pull a half off. He lost because he made one mistake. Jack has worked super hard in the last year between Combat and for me, and it shows how much he’s grown since last year.”

North took it to South at 154 and 162, with Sawyer Sheets and Alex Mackey both pinning in the second.

“Having Sawyer down at 154 where he really belongs – I was having to wrestle him up earlier in the season – helps us even more,” Holt said.

Hilton felt bad for Garcia, who was battling sickness at 162.

“He’s been sick for over a week, but he grinded it out for his team,” Hilton said. “He said he wanted to wrestle. He’s definitely got some heart.”

North’s Mason Shermer showed heart by simply walking out against Devonte Lyerly, the undefeated Tiger who pinned 13 seconds into the second. But Shermer grabbed a 2-0 lead and entered the second in a 2-2 tie.

“I said you scored against Devonte. Nobody else has done that,” Holt said.

South’s Keith Davis pinned at 184. North’s Max Martinez pinned at 222. And North’s Brandon Logan pinned in 28 seconds at heavyweight to end the match.


Richards is still undefeated, sporting a 13-0 record with eight pins.

“I hate JT wasn’t healthy against Mooresville because Mooresville’s 106 is pretty good, too,” Holt said. “I’d like to have seen them scrap. JT’s cool, calm and collected. He doesn’t seem to get rattled about anything. He’s smooth. If he sticks with it and gets a little stronger, he could be a good one for the high school.”

Although Richards is the lone unbeaten for North, there is a string of glittering records. Hill is 14-1 with 14 pins. His only loss came when he bumped up against Mooresville.

“He hadn’t made 98 yet and JT was hurt and out of the lineup,” Holt said. “When I put Lane with JT in practice, it makes both of them better because Lane’s going 100 miles an hour and he’s trying to beat you every chance he can.”

Jenkins is among five Wildcats with 14-1 marks. His lone defeat came against North Wilkes.

“He tried to muscle a guy that was probably a little bit stronger than him,” Holt said. “I think he puts a lot of pressure on himself. We’ve been trying to get him to just relax, stay in the moment and don’t get too worked up.”

Yokley (14-1) hasn’t lost since the West Rowan opener.

“And he was up in the second or third period,” Holt said. “That’s the only match he hasn’t been savvy about his position. He’s one of the best ones we have as far as knowing where his body is supposed to be, where to land and how to move. He’s one of the few sixth graders we had last year who wrestled quite a few matches, and it’s paying off for him. If he sticks with it, he’s got a big future ahead of him.”

The Bailey-Collins combination at 134/140 is another example of iron sharpening iron. Both are 14-1, with 10 of Collins’ victories coming via pin.

“When I put Collin and Sam in a group, they’re back and forth hammering on each other,” Holt said. “You’ve got to watch out. They’ll be on one side of the room and two seconds later they’ll be all the way across the mat on the other side of the room. It’s pretty fun to watch some of them in rotation groups every day.”

Logan is 12-2, J. Davis 12-3, Testa 11-4, Mackey 10-2 and Martinez 10-5.

South’s headliner, of course, is Lyerly, who is 11-0 with 10 pins. He’s 20-1 in two years. Jarvis is 9-2. Reyes, Garcia and K. Davis are 8-3. Nail is 7-3.

“If Devonte gets choice, he wants bottom because he loves the head hunt,” Hilton said. “That’s his go-to move from bottom. He pinned a big ol’ kid from Wesleyan. I bumped him up to 182 and this kid looked like a body builder. The head hunt is what Devonte got him with.”

Notes: North’s first win over South was 63-36 on Dec. 12. … South fell to 8-3 with its first loss in four matches. … The last time the Wildcats reached 13 wins was 2007-08, when they finished 13-0-1 behind four unbeaten stars: Wil Cope (15-0), Aubry Apperson (15-0), Brandon Medford (15-0) and Austin Doby (13-0). … Holt is 60-14 in six years as coach.