FRANKLIN – Jake Yost is batting a thousand in State Duals championship matches.
Just call it a three-peat for the Cleveland Blue Raiders after Saturday night’s 35-26 win over Wilson Central here at the Williamson County Agricultural Expo Center.
It was also the third straight time that the Wildcats had finished as the runner-up to Cleveland, but Saturday night’s battle was for sure the closest of them all and a battle from the opening whistle.
“That was a fun match,” Yost said while members of his team were whooping it up with themselves and the Cleveland faithful in attendance.
“There were a lot of lead changes and there was a great fan base on both sides, but we had guys step up all across the board, so it was a total team effort again. Our guys have gotten good at enjoying competition like this as they don’t seem to feel the pressure.
“But this is for them. The training is done and it’s all about fine tuning from here on out. And this never gets old,” he added.
The Wildcats got a 6-1 decision from Caleb Berta in the opening match at 126 pounds for a quick 3-0 lead while a two-minute pin from Perry Baltz at 195 put the Wildcats ahead for the last time at 23-18.
John Gaither posted a hard-fought 3-2 sudden death overtime victory at 220 to trim that lead to 23-21 before Koran Kennedy put the Blue Raiders ahead to stay at 27-23 with a 2:59 pin at 285.
Wilson Central only won one match the rest of the way as the Blue Raiders prevailed by nine points.
“That was tough,” said Wilson Central coach John Kramer after his team lost for only the third time in 47 matches as his team’s 19-match win streak was snapped.
“There were a lot of close matches and on any given day, things could have been different, but Cleveland is still the team to beat and we just hope to get another shot next year,” Kramer added.
Cleveland advanced to the AAA finals for the third straight year but the Bradley Bears weren’t as fortunate.
Cleveland made the finals with three impressive wins, including a 57-15 romp over Summit in Friday’s opening match. The Blue Raiders pounded Arlington by a 45-15 final in Friday’s second match before a 48-18 victory over Beech in Saturday’s championship semis.
Bradley was equally impressive in two Friday wins, the first a 48-27 decision over McGavock before crushing Siegel, 71-6.
The Bears got off to a good start against Wilson Central as they built a 17-6 lead following Donnie Beyer’s 11-3 major decision at 145, but the Wildcats won six of the next seven matches – including five by pin and the other by technical fall – for a 41-23 lead after the 285-pound match.
Once Wilson Central coach John Kramer made sure that the score was indeed correct, he forfeited the final two weights to make the final margin six points.
Ryan McElhaney got Bradley off to a good start against Wilson Central with a 12-0 major decision at 120 before Knox Fuller made it 10-0 with a first-period pin at 126. Joshua LaCoe made it 13-0 with a 7-2 decision at 132.
Lane Dickeson put Wilson Central on the board with a second-period pin at 138 before Bradley’s Donnie Beyer notched an 11-3 major decision at 145 pounds for a 17-6 lead for the Bears.
The good news disappeared for Bradley at that point as the Wildcats took charge and never looked back, clinching the win with John Kramer’s pin at 285.
While Bradley had a bump in the road against Wilson Central, the Bears fought back like champions to claim third place, first beating Tennessee High by a 48-24 final and then Beech by a 52-22 final in their last match.
Needless to say, Bradley coach Ben Smith was hoping for a much better finish, but he was still somewhat proud of third place.
“I’m just glad that we had enough character to come back and finish third, but we have to learn how to fight harder when the opportunity presents itself,” Smith said.
“I think we’re headed in the right direction and there’s no question that third place is a heck of a lot better than fourth,” he said, knowing that this is the first time in 18 State Duals appearances that the Bears didn’t finish first or second.
Bradley has won more state duals titles than anyone with 12 and the Bears have been runner-up five times, but this year’s appearance for the Bears was the first since 2011.
CLEVELAND 35, WILSON CENTRAL 26
(Match started at 126 Pounds
106 – Cody Matthews (Clev) major dec. Chase Berta, 13-0;
113 – Simon Pergande (WC) dec. Bryce Pond, 9-3;
120 – Tristan Blansit (Clev) major dec. Nick King, 10-1;
126 – Caleb Berta (WC) dec. Victor Barbosa, 6-1;
132 – Christopher DeBien (Clev) won by forfeit;
138 – Colton Landers (Clev) dec. Lane Dickeson, 6-4;
145 – Ezra Taylor (Clev) won by technical fall over Andy Hamrick, 5:08;
152 – Mike Binns (WC) pinned Robert Hicks, 1:06;
160 – Aaron Oliver (Clev) major dec. Damon Smith, 12-0;
170 -- John Michael Jenkinson (WC) dec. Jonathan Martin, 8-6;
182 – Zach Linton (WC) won by technical fall over Seth Garcia, 5:35;
195 -- Perry Baltz (WC) pinned Riley Stevison, 2:00;
220 – John Gaither (Clev) dec. John Kramer, 3-2 in sudden death overtime;
285 – Koran Kennedy (Clev) pinned Evan Juhnke, 2:59.
CONSOLATION FINAL FOR THIRD PLACE
BRADLEY 51, BEECH 22
(Match started at 145 Pounds)
145 – Donnie Beyer (Brad) dec. Kyler Johnson, 3-0;
152 – Caleb Adkins (Brad) pinned Jherian Maddox, 1:09;
160 – Michael King (Beech) won by technical fall over Jack Bandy, 5:45;
170 – Corey Gatlin (Brad) pinned Kyle Smith, 1:52;
182 – Kaleb Rippy (Beech) pinned Ed Elkins, 1:25;
195 – Brett Brown (Brad) pinned David Dowell, 3:29;
220 – Peyton Reinert (Beech) pinned Timothy Lawson, 1:40;
285 – Devol Whitfield (Beech) pinned David Adams, 2:13;
106 – D.J. Hicks (Brad) pinned Bryan Kirkland, :38;
113 – Torobio Navarro (Brad) won by technical fall over Heath Uhles;
120 -- Ryan McElhaney (Brad) major dec. William Downing, 11-0;
126 – Knox Fuller (Brad) pinned Landon Butler, 5:10;
132 – Joshua LaCoe (Brad) won by technical fall over William Carney, 4:00;
138 – Stephen Scott (Brad) pinned Hayden Hammock, 1:34.
AAA CHAMPIONSHIP SEMIFINALS
WILSON CENTRAL 41, BRADLEY 35
(Match started at 120 Pounds)
106 – T.J. Hicks (Brad) won by forfeit;
113 – Toribio Navarro (Brad) won by forfeit;
120 – Ryan McElhaney (Brad) major dec. Nick King, 12-0;
126 – Ryan Fuller (Brad) pinned Austin Caron, 1:12;
132 – Joshua LaCoe (Brad) dec. Caleb Berta, 7-2;
138 – Lane Dickeson (WC) pinned Stephen Scott, 2:54;
145 – Donnie Beyer (Brad) major dec. Andy Hamrick, 11-3;
152 – Mike Binns (WC) pinned Colby Wilson, 1:51;
160 – John Michael Jenkinson (WC) pinned Caleb Adkins, :48;
170 – Zach Linton (WC) won by technical fall over Corey Gatlin, 4:55;
182 – Ben Iles (WC) pinned Ed Elkins, 1:49;
195 – Brett Brown (Brad) pinned Kollin Miller, 3:39;
220 – Perry Baltz (WC) pinned Timothy Lawson, :44;
285 – John Kramer (WC) pinned David Adams, 1:08.
CLEVELAND 48, BEECH 18
(Match started at 120 Pounds)
106 – Bryce Pond (Clev) pinned Bryan Kirkland, :59;
113 – Heath Uhles (B) pinned Jayce Mullin, 2:56;
120 – Tristan Blansit (Clev) pinned William Downing, 1:03;
126 – Landon Butler (B) dec. Victor Barbosa, 8-1;
132 – Colton Landers (Clev) pinned William Carney, :38;
138 – Christopher DeBien (Clev) dec. Trevor Rippy, 10-3;
145 – Ezra Taylor (Clev) pinned Kyler Johnson, 2:12;
152 – Robert Hicks (Clev) pinned Jherian Maddox, 3:21;
160 – Aaron Oliver (Clev) dec. Michael King, 3-0;
170 – Jonathan Martin (Clev) pinned Kyle Smith, 1:08;
182 – Kaleb Rippy (B) pinned Riley Stevison, 1:39;
195 – David Dowell (B) dec. Seth Garcia, 7-2;
220 – John Gaither (Clev) dec. Peyton Reinert, 8-3;
285 – Koran Kennedy (Clev) dec. Devol Whitfield, 6-0.
BRADLEY 48, TENNESSEE HIGH 24
(Match started at 138 Pounds)
106 – T.J. Hicks (Brad) pinned Rodney Nelson, 2:54;
113 – Toribio Navarro (Brad) pinned Judson McCray, 1:14;
120 – Ryan McElhaney (Brad) won by forfeit;
126 – Will Poore (TH) won by forfeit;
132 – Corbin Hurley (TH) won by forfeit;
138 – Dewey Pendley (TH) pinned Stephen Scott, 2:00;
145 – Donnie Beyer (Brad) pinned Ethan Walker, :17;
152 – Caleb Adkins (Brad) dec. Bryson Henley, 9-2;
160 – Jack Bandy (Brad) dec. Jason Johnson, 7-4;
170 – Corey Gatlin (Brad) dec. Jeremy Spangler, 11-8;
182 – Ed Elkins (Brad) dec. Billy Stoots, 9-5;
195 – Brett Brown (Brad) pinned Nathaniel Scott, 1:05;
220 – Kenneth Hagerman (TH) pinned Timothy Lawson, 2:34;
285 – David Adams (Brad) won by forfeit.
(Email John Hunt at firstname.lastname@example.org)
Aaron Oliver of Cleveland gained a major decision, 12-0, over Damon Smith of Wilson Central.
- Photo2 by Dennis Norwood