Davie wrestlers suffer first loss

Published 2:41 pm Tuesday, December 12, 2023

By Brian Pitts

Enterprise Record

The Davie and West Rowan wrestling teams got their first real challenges of the season when they collided in a big-time matchup in front of a juiced-up crowd at Davie on Dec. 7.

The Falcons, a well-oiled juggernaut in 3-A, had smoked its first seven opponents by a 70-10 margin on average. The War Eagles, who have state championship ambitions in 4-A, were 9-0 after roundhousing their first nine opponents by an average margin of 67-12.

West broke out to a 15-3 lead. Davie went on a 20-6 run to take the lead. The Falcons reeled off the next 15 points and had reason to feel mighty good when they walked off with a 36-29 victory.

It was a failed test for the War Eagles, but it was not the final exam. A battle like this in December can do nothing but help them down the road in February.

“We’re not going to see many teams as tough as that, honestly,” coach Josh Stanley said after suffering his first loss as Davie’s coach. “That’s probably one of the top teams in the state. So I feel like if we can hang in there with those guys, we can do pretty good.”

The loss overshadowed an electrifying buzzer-beater by Brysen Godbey, who came up with a takedown as the clock hit zero in the third period. The 4-3 decision in the second weight class at 215 cut West’s lead to 6-3 and lifted Godbey’s record to 17-2.

“Their guy got called for stalling and we had 12 seconds when they went back to the center,” Stanley said. “It was one of the top five 12-second flurries that I’ve ever seen from a high school kid. Brysen just continued to attack from the whistle for 12 seconds. When I looked up, it was one second or under a second. It was right there on the edge. It was fun to be a part of.”

But the Falcons just had some magic on this night. Four matchups felt like coin flips and West emerged on top in three of the four, including a white-knuckler at heavyweight. Ryder Strickland was behind by one point late in the third period before he was pinned. The junior was 16-0 before that.

“Obviously we thought we would win that one; you always do as a coach,” Stanley said. “But I know their kid is good. He’s real tough in the power half position. I think we had to go under him. Ryder is tough at getting up. I knew if he got up, it was going to be big. Ryder needs to feel that. He had not really been gut-punched yet; everything has fallen his way. We’ll see how he responds, but I know he will step up.”

In the next weight class at 106, freshman Stephen Jacobs had clicked off eight straight pins before falling short 6-4.

“Stephen was in positions to beat him,” Stanley said. “But Stephen had not heard a crowd like that. The other kid was wrestling the same match. Don’t get me wrong, I’m taking nothing away from him. We stayed on our knees too long. If we drive through the hips and find a half … it’s easily coached after (the fact). We’re still growing in a couple of those weights.”

Down 15-3, this is when Davie began its surge. Aidan Szewczyk major decisioned at 113, pushing the freshman’s record to 11-0. But credit Szewczyk’s opponent for not getting stuck and saving his team three points.

“That guy had probably been instructed not to get pinned,” Stanley said. “He was just turtling up.”

At 126, Cayden Glass pinned and ran his record to 15-0. At 132, Tiaj Thao pinned and improved his record to 14-1. At 138, Andy Davis won for the 17th time in 18 tries, his major decision catapulting Davie to a 23-21 lead.

The lead, though, was short-lived. West pinned at 144. Brett Foster was 17-0 at 144, but he bumped up to 150 and dropped a 7-2 decision.

“The kid that Brett wrestled (junior Stetson Collins) is No. 2 in the state,” Stanley said.

At 157, West squeezed out a 5-4 decision over Elliott Gould. At 165, West decisioned Jerred Alexander and took an insurmountable 36-23 lead.

West clinched before Davie could get to its biggest weapon, unbeaten Hunter Testa at 175. Testa (14-0) wasted little time pounding out his ninth pin of the season, but that was inconsequential because the Falcons won almost all the close matches earlier.

“Both teams did a lot of bumping around,” Stanley said. “When that happened at heavyweight, we had to do something. We bumped Glass from 120 to 126, and that shifted our whole lineup all the way up to 157.”

Notes: Earlier in the night, Davie had an easy 83-0 win over East Forsyth. Christian Boswell, Strickland, Jacobs, Szewczyk, Glass, Thao, Davis, Foster, Gould, Javon Carter and Alexander had pins, and Braxton Hunter won by tech fall as Davie moved to 2-0 in the Central Piedmont Conference. East forfeited to Testa and Godbey. … Senior Reid Nail, who started 4-1 at 132, has been out since Nov. 18 with an injury. He’s missed three duals and two tournaments. “He’s balancing a knee and trying to get his lungs back,” Stanley said. “If he can get his knee better, then he can really focus on his gas tank.” … The Davie girls beat East 30-24. All five Davie wins were forfeits.