War Eagle wresting just short of state finals
Published 9:11 am Thursday, February 10, 2022
By Brian Pitts
Davie wrestling coach Perry Long knew if his War Eagles could handle Northwest Guilford, they could handle anybody in the state. They almost handled Northwest Guilford.
The key word: “Almost.”
In the quarterfinals of the state dual team playoffs, the War Eagles suffered a couple of unexpected losses and fell 41-33 to the then-unbeaten Vikings.
“We could have wrestled for a state championship,” Long said. “I told them that all year. I feel like we should have been in the finals.”
Davie 38, Weddington 34
Davie opened the playoffs in Matthews on Jan. 31, with Weddington hosting a quad for the first two rounds.
The 13th-seeded War Eagles shrugged off No. 4 Weddington’s 9-0 lead and built a 19-point cushion before forfeiting the final two weight classes.
After Weddington jumped ahead at 120 and 126, Lane Hill triggered a 32-4 blitz with a pin at 132. Then came an 11-second pin from fire-breathing Sam Collins at 138.
“Sam is on a tear,” Long said after the senior’s eighth straight win. “He snapped him down and hit him with a crossface cradle.”
Davie lost a major decision at 145, but it ripped off a pin at 152 from Collin Bailey, a 5-1 decision at 160 from Isaac Webb, a pin at 170 from Jack Jarvis and a technical fall at 182 from Hunter Testa. The Warriors were on the ropes at 32-13.
Weddington closed within 32-22 by winning at 195 and 220, but Brysen Godbey settled the issue. Despite the sophomore bumping up to heavyweight, despite giving up 55 pounds to Weddington’s 275-pounder, Godbey operated at his normal level, pinned the big fella and put the margin out of reach at 38-22.
Then Long forfeited at 106 and 113.
“(Weddington’s heavyweight) was experienced and 275. Godbey is 220,” Long said. “We told Godbey to run sweeps and not to get caught underneath him. He worked sweeps and somehow got a takedown on him. I knew when he stayed on top of him for two minutes and didn’t let him up he had a chance to pin him.”
Davie 46, N. Guilford 31
Later in the evening, Davie churned out five pins and knocked out 12th-seeded Northern Guilford, which had eliminated No. 5 Hough.
Pins by Hill and Collins gave Davie a 12-6 lead. After the Nighthawks took the verdicts at 145, 152 and 160, Davie seized six of the next seven weight classes and won comfortably.
Jarvis pinned and Testa major decisioned before Charlie Frye delivered a crowd-pleasing pin at 220. It was his first match of the year in that spot after spending all season at 195, and it provided a 28-25 lead.
“Their kid was all over Charlie, but Charlie kept wrestling and kept wrestling,” Long said. “Somehow Charlie got on top of him and pinned him. That was the biggest match.”
Hunter Potts’ pin at 106 was sandwiched by forfeits to Godbey and Luke Tehandon. With a 46-25 lead, Davie forfeited at 120.
NWG 41, Davie 33
At Lake Norman on Feb. 2, the War Eagles met a Northwest team in the quarterfinals that had punished 24 opponents by a running score of 1,463-265.
But after five matches, fired-up Davie was ahead 15-12 – thanks to pins by Frye and Godbey and a decision by Tehandon. Godbey bumped up to heavyweight for the third match in a row and came through again.
“I was hoping it wouldn’t backfire on me,” Long said. “I knew they had a decent heavyweight.”
Tehandon survived a 6-5 struggle at 113.
“I told my coaches: ‘I guarantee you their coaches think they can pin Luke,’” Long said. “I said: ‘I think Luke can win that match.’ Lo and behold, Luke wrestled a heck of a match. That was a critical match.”
Northwest, however, turned the tide in the next match at 120 and Davie never recovered. By the time Davie was ready to unleash Webb, Jarvis and Testa, the Vikings had clinched at 41-15 by reeling off 29 unanswered points at 120, 126, 132, 138, 145 and 152.
Long feels confident his final three guys would have won at 160, 170 and 182. The difference between misery and magic were bad breaks in a few of the losses.
It was a blow to the gut for the War Eagles, who saw their winning streak end at six and their dual team season close at 23-10.
“Those were going to be wins for us,” he said of Webb, Jarvis and Testa. “I don’t know if they all would have been pins, but we were going to win those matches. We could have beat them. We were in the match. I’m going to be honest, this loss will hurt me for a long time.”
Notes: Northwest slipped past Lake Norman, 39-36, in the semifinals to improve to 25-0, but it ultimately settled for second as Laney squeaked out a 32-31 win in the state final. That match was decided in the final weight class (132). … No. 6 West Forsyth, the only other team from the Central Piedmont Conference to qualify for the playoffs, lost in the second round to No. 11 Hickory Ridge. … Davie has eight guys with 20-plus wins, including Hill (37-4), Bailey (35-4), Godbey (34-6), Jarvis (32-3), Webb (27-8), Testa (26-2), Collins (22-8) and Lawson Hire (21-11). … Testa has an 18-match winning streak.