Friendly rivals: Davie/West wrestling matches to get interesting
Published 11:34 am Tuesday, June 20, 2023
By Brian Pitts
The conference title in wrestling always comes down to Davie and West Forsyth. Davie has collected 28 regular-season championships over the years – 27 of them under legendary Buddy Lowery, who piloted the program for 43 years until his retirement following the 2018-19 season – but the Titans have snatched the past two trophies.
They’ve been blood rivals for about 20 years, but the rivalry will have a different feel come next winter. Davie’s Josh Stanley and West’s Timmy Allen are not only good friends who work as a team at Stanley’s business, Combat Athletics, they are also former War Eagles.
Stanley resigned after leading the Lake Norman High program for four years, then accepted the position at Davie after Perry Long stepped down. Allen was a football/wrestling coach at North Davie Middle before getting the job just across the Yadkin River at West Forsyth.
“It’s such an amazing thing for Timmy,” Stanley said. “He’s put a lot in and it was his time to make that jump. So I’m excited for him. I know he’s a competitor, so we’ll probably go at it. We’ll have our scraps for sure, but we’re buddies and we both respect each other a lot. We grew up bleeding orange.”
“You go from training to beat West and now I’m going to flip the script,” Allen said with a laugh. “I take my boys to (Combat). I mean I’ve been to Disney with Combat twice and I help out there whenever I can. Josh was actually one of my mentors growing up. My group really looked up to their group and we wanted to be like them. They set the tone and I’m sure they learned from teams before them for how to work in that room. It’s funny how everything works out. We’ll still work together to develop these kids, but we’re definitely looking forward to those cross-river matches. It’s going to be good entertainment, I promise you. Both of those crowds can get into it. But it’ll be nothing but good fun and a good, competitive rivalry. Several of his guys are going to be guys that I’ve coached (at North Davie).”
How good a wrestler was Stanley? When he graduated from high school in 2002, he was the second-winningest in Davie’s storied history. As someone you could count on for all four years, he helped Davie bag three CPC titles and two state runner-ups in duals. Davie won 42 straight CPC matches during Stanley’s career from 1998-99 through 2001-02, and the War Eagles went 106-11 in those four years. Stanley was a two-time state placer, including a third-place finish at 135 as a senior. His career record was 133-36, which at the time was No. 2 behind teammate Patrick Lowery (150-16).
Stanley, 39, went on to wrestle at Appalachian State.
“It’s amazing. I’m pumped,” Stanley said of returning to the orange and black. “When I was young and in high school, I always joked with Buddy about one day I wanted to have that position. At the time, I wanted to be an athletic director and coach and do it like that. Twenty years later, it looks a little different, but it’s definitely something that I always wanted.”
The commute each day to Lake Norman wore on him. It was about 50 minutes one way for four years.
“It took some of the fun out of it,” he said. “Then I was ready to double down on the club (Combat is located at the Rise Sportplex in Bermuda Run), but then the Davie job came open and I was fired up to have the opportunity again. I like being involved in the community. My kids and family are here.”
Isaiah Whitley and Jordan Nolan will be assistant coaches.
“Isaiah is a Davie boy and grew up in the program,” he said. “Jordan was a three-time state champ in West Virginia. He’s going to come over from Lake Norman. He’s a really big asset to us.”
Allen, 35, was awesome on the mat. He helped lead the War Eagles to four CPC crowns from 2002-03 through 2005-06, a state runner-up in duals and Lowery’s third and final state title in 2006. Davie went 141-10 during the Allen era. Allen went 55-1 as a junior and won the state at 171. He missed most of his senior year with a knee injury, so he didn’t get a chance to repeat, leaving with a career record of 133-25.
Allen clinched Davie’s last state championship as it hosted Cary on a Saturday afternoon. To see him go out there on a bum knee and pin his opponent was inspiring stuff.
He wrestled at North Carolina at Pembroke for three years, then served as a Pembroke assistant for one year. In recent years, he was the head coach of North Davie football and Jamey Holt’s right-hand man for North wrestling.
“Jamey was the first person I called after I accepted (at West Forsyth) because I’ve had a blast coaching with Jamey,” Allen said. “I had a stint with Jamey, then I went up to the high school for a few years and then I went back to Jamey. So we’ve had a good thing going on.”
Getting the job at West was a dream-come-true moment.
“It’s very exciting,” Allen said. “My wife gave me the green light on it. It’s a big step, but I feel like I’m ready for it. I spent five years at Davie under coach Lowery helping with practices and everything, so I feel like I’m ready.”
If West can’t make it a three-peat in the CPC in 2023-24, Allen would be happy to see Davie at the top.
“Being a Davie alumni, you want nothing but success for Davie, even though it’s going to be my rival school now,” he said. “I’m still trying to process all that. I’m a Davie boy. My boys (ages 5 and 6) are going to go to Pinebrook and North Davie and I’m still going to live in the Bermuda Run/Advance area. When the time comes, if they want to go to Davie, they can do to Davie.”