As has been the case so often over the years, it came down to the final match.
The LaGrange and Troup wrestling teams have waged some thrilling showdowns in the county championship, and oftentimes the outcome hasn’t been determined until the last match was contested.
So it was surprising to no one that Tuesday’s meeting between the Grangers and Tigers was tied 42-42 when the final two wrestlers walked on to the mat.
“If would have been nice if we could have breathed the last few matches. It’s not like that,” LaGrange coach Scooter Weathers said. “It’s been that way going back to 2004 when we beat them for the first time. It’s been close, it’s been nip-tuck.”
The Grangers had a chance to sew up the victory in the second-to-last match, but Troup’s Christian Franks won by pin at 126 pounds to even things up at 42-42.
That meant that whoever won the last match at 132 pounds, whether it was by decision, major decision or pin, would deliver the victory to his team.
It was LaGrange’s Qua Tucker who came through with the victory when he pinned Tyshon Cannon in the first period.
“If we win at 126, it’s over,” Weathers said. “And then it’s tied 142-142, and I told Qua, you’ve got to go. Go get it. And he did.”
Troup came within a whisker of winning the county championship for the second straight year, but it came up just short.
Troup coach Chris Mitchem said it wasn’t so much that his wrestlers lost, but it was that they were pinned.
“Like I told them, the big thing was, don’t give up pins,” Mitchem said. “Every single loss we had was pins. We’re better than we wrestled. Plain and simple.”
It was the second meeting of the season between the two teams.
At the area duals, LaGrange beat Troup 50-30, but Weathers was expecting a much tougher time of it in the rematch.
“I’ve been preaching to them the whole week, this is not going to be easy,” Weathers said. “It’s going to be a match or two away. And it came down to one match.”
Troup’s Adam Love got his team off to a fast start with a pin at 138 pounds, and LaGrange’s Kyler Hall won by pin at 145 pounds to even things up.
LaGrange won the next two matches by pin, with Dexter Jones prevailing at 152 pounds, and Turner Duke winning at 160 pounds.
At 170 pounds, Troup’s Jonathan Scott won by pin, and LaGrange’s Guy Wegienka won by pin at 182 pounds.
LaGrange extended its lead with Jeffrey Walker winning by pin at 195 pounds, and Troup got six points back at 220 pounds on a pin by Hudson Newton.
In the 285-pound match, LaGrange’s Emmanuel Mann won by pin, and LaGrange got six points on a forfeit at 106 pounds.
Troup then won the next three matches to make things interesting.
Cameron Cato won by pin at 113 pounds, Dakota Wilson won by pin at 120 pounds, and Franks got the pin at 126 pounds to get his team even, setting up the winner-take-all match at 132 pounds.
Earlier in the day, LaGrange and Troup both beat Callaway.
Troup beat Callaway 61-15, and LaGrange topped Callaway 59-21.
Against Troup, Callaway got wins from Andrew Thomas and Brandon Sutton, while Troup’s winners were Cannon, Love, Preston Channell, Treyonn Harris, Scott and Tanius Harris.
Six of the matches were decided by forfeit.
Against LaGrange, Callaway got wins from Dustin Holmes, Thomas, David McClendon and Sutton.
LaGrange’s winners were DeErious Sands, Tucker, Matt Watford and Reggie Johnson, and it also won seven matches by forfeit.