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Coach Speak: Regional Wrestling at Tallassee High

Story by Griffin Pritchard | Publisher

Photos by Sandie Free | CAScoreboard Photographer

TALLASSEE — After knocking off winning the regional championship dual by defeating Benjamin Russell High School in the championship match – Tallassee advanced deeper into the AHSAA State Duals Tournament. The Tigers – who up to this point had been unbeaten in duals – hosted the rival Wildcats along with Spanish Fort and Gulf Shores.

In the opening dual Tallassee tamed the visiting Toros 37-36. Heavyweight Michah Cole defeated Brady Morrow 5-0 to give the Tigers the three team points needed to advance. The win moved the Tigers to the Quarterfinal against Gulf Shores, who earlier defeated Benjamin Russell 49-21 to advance.

The Dolphins – who were leaving Tallassee heading to Enterprise for a tournament the moment the dual ended – made short work of the Tigers, splashing them 65-9 and eliminating them from the state team tournament.

Tallassee Coach John Mask had this to say after the match: “It was great to be here and always good to wrestle. It was a great opportunity for us to see that we still have things to work and need to get better. To me we tried to do a lot of throws and things and when you wrestle great people … we’ve got to be smarter. We’ve got to work six minutes and try to win by points. I’ve always told them there’s always a team better than you and a coach better than me. That’s why we – always – have to work and try to get better. Sometimes a loss like this can help you going forward. Hopefully it makes them work harder. I’m very proud of the kids and they’ve worked hard. But I hope they come here and see they need to come to practice and work that much harder and concentrate on doing the little things.”

·         115: Dathan Butt (GULF SHORES) over Mason Nelson (TALLASSEE) (Fall 1:28)

·         122: Kyle Simmons (GULF SHORES) over Brendan Emfinger (TALLASSEE) (INJURY)

·         128: Ethan Sharkey (GULF SHORES) over Troupe Cresswell (TALLASSEE) (Fall 1:18)

·         134: Land Bell (TALLASSEE) over Charles Knight (GULF SHORES) (Fall 3:34)

·         140: Taylor Cheek (GULF SHORES) over Russell Phillips (TALLASSEE) (Fall 1:25)

·         147: Nicholas Carris (GULF SHORES) over Ethan Jones (TALLASSEE) (Dec 8-5)

·         154: John Burnham (TALL) over Jacob Killough (GULF SHORES) (Dec 3-2)

·         162: Weston Reed (GULF SHORES) over Christian McCary (TALLASSEE) (Fall 1:25)

·         172: Landan Everett (GULF SHORES) over Joseph Hooks (TALLASSEE) (Fall 1:03)

·         184: Keeshon Siaosi (GULF SHORES) over Caden Griffith (TALLASSEE) (Fall 3:01)

·         197: Lucas Salcedo (GULF SHORES) over Preston Tidwell (TALLASSEE) (Fall 5:08)

·         222: Charlie Hollis (GULF SHORES) over Jude Rogers (TALLASSEE) (Dec 10-4)

·         287: Sam Schepker (GULF SHORES) over Micah Cole (TALLASSEE) (Fall 2:29)

·         108: Noah Guthrie (GULF SHORES) over Rutland Phillips (TALLASSEE) (Fall 3:32)

Gulf Shores Coach Britt Shaw: “I feel like we came out flat against Ben Russell. We had just gotten off the bus and they probably slept half the way up here. What I loved is that I took them outside and challenged them. Tallassee’s got a good team and I told them that if they wrestled like that against Tallassee, they’re going to beat you. They responded. You’ve got Tallassee and Ben Russell – both of those teams have finished top two in the state. There are a lot of good teams in this area. We’re building the Gulf Shores Brand – we made the Final Four last year and we keep advancing in tournaments like this, only graduating one or two each year. We are getting there.”

The Dolphins had their run ended in the Final Four, losing to McAdory 37-24.

Benjamin Russell Recap

TALLASSEE – After losing to Gulf Shores in the opening round, the Wildcats tangled with the Toros in a Tallassee-based dual. Benjamin Russell started slowly but began to pick up steam and wins en route to the solid victory.

Benjamin Russell Coach Michael Ransaw said this: “We were the second-best team here. We gave up 24 points, but we had four forfeits and you can’t do that. But my guys went out and did exactly what I expected them to; they didn’t get pinned. I have three guys out with covid, can’t do anything about that. I’m very proud of my guys. We had a healthy team and a team that was ready to compete. We saw teams in this tournament we haven’t seen – Gulf Shores and Spanish Fort and even in our region tournament, we saw a couple of teams we don’t see that much of Russell County and Opelika. As far as sectionals – I feel that we have 10 guys that can go with anybody. Gulf Shores is a good team and they are right now one of the best in the state. They are going to drop down to 5A next year which is good for us but that classification is going to be stacked. And 6A is going to be wide open and we are going to right in there. We are adding a couple of guys and I think this season has prepared us for what’s to come.”

Benjamin Russell 51, Spanish Fort 28

·         138: Dayton Blohm (SPANISH FORT) over Damien Billups (BRHS) (Fall 5:06)

·         145: Jamarion Whetstone (BRHS) over Denver Persinger (SPANISH FORT) (Dec 5-0)

·         152: Rob McFadden (SPANISH FORT) over Ashton Clark (BRHS) (MD 15-2)

·         160: Ashton Jenkins (SPANISH FORT) over (BRHS) (For.)

·         170: Savon Spradley (BRHS) over Hudson Merkle (SPANISH FORT) (Fall 0:38)

·         182: Janicholas Gamble (BRHS) over Preston Sander (SPANISH FORT) (Fall 1:21)

·         195: Aiden Defelippo (SPANISH FORT) over (BRHS) (For.)

·         220: Trace McCaleb (BRHS) over Isaac Dolan (SPANISH FORT) (Fall 1:55)

·         285: Tymon Belyew (BRHS) over Brady Morrow (SPANISH FORT) (Fall 5:27) :

·                  Jamarion Whetstone (BRHS) over Kohlton May (SPANISH FORT) (Fall 0:28)

·         106: Double Forfeit

·         113: Jackson Hollinger (SPANISH FORT) over (BRHS) (For.)

·         120: Isaiah Stamps (BRHS) over Nico Veechio (SPANISH FORT) (Fall 4:39)

·         126: Sandlin Pike (BRHS) over Chase Lee (SPANISH FORT) (Fall 0:46)

·         132: Lee Leonard (BRHS) over Willem Dukes (SPANISH FORT) (Fall 5:25)

Founder/Publisher of Central Alabama Scoreboard. Former sportsguy, managing editor, currently working for the City of Tallassee as a Public Information Specialist and grant writer.

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