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Tallassee advances to first Duals Tournament Final

Story by Griffin Pritchard | Publisher

Photos by Sandie Free & Deana Russell | CAScoreboard Photographers

CENTRAL ALABAMA SCOREBOARD OFFICE – The Tallassee High Tigers are a tough team to beat in a dual and on Tuesday they proved it, avenging a 2022 loss to Gulf Shores and earning a berth into the 5A AHSAA Duals Tournament Finale scheduled for January 20 in Birmingham. Tallassee will meet Jasper in the 5A State Championship Dual Friday at Bill Harris.

“I’m so proud of each and every wrestler,” said John Mask, coach of the Tigers. “We really wrestled well last night from 106 pounds to Heavyweight. We are excited about the opportunity and we understand that we must continue to improve. Jasper has an amazing team with lots of talent.”

The No. 9 (according to the Alabama Wrestling Coaches Association’s most recent 5A rankings)Tigers – after knocking off Elberta in the Quarterfinals – fell behind the No. 4 Dolphins, 6-0. But quickly jumped ahead following a second-period pin by Rutland Phillips at 108 pounds and a major decision (13-5) win by Mason Nelson at 115 pounds.

The Pod regrouped and squeaked out a lead, scoring a first-period pin at 122 pounds. And then regained the padded tally by scoring a major decision (10-1) at 128 pounds.

Tallassee – however – regained the lead, winning the next 3-of-4 matches. Ethan Jones (134 pounds) scored a second-period pin, Land Bell (at 140 pounds) scrambled out a 14-2 victory and then Christian McCary held on for an 11-6 win at 154 pounds.

Mask: “The guys have bought into our plan and executed it to perfection. In a dual, every point counts and each wrestler plays a vital role in the final outcome.”

After dropping decisions at 147 pounds and 162 pounds, Joseph Hooks picked up a six-point victory at 172 pounds and then Caden Griffith (184 pounds) battled and secured a 14-9 victory.

The Tigers lost their final two matches of the dual (197 pounds and 222 pounds) but Nolan Addeo and Jude Rogers avoided being pinned, securing the 32-29 victory.

Addeo – at 197 pounds dropped an 8-6 decision to Lucas Salcedo. Jude Rogers – at 222 pounds – dropped a 3-0 decision to Jackson Russ. Had either of those Tigers been pinned, the Dolphins would be swimming their way into a championship match.

Jasper – coming into the State Championship Dual is ranked 3 behind Arab and Scottsboro, although that should change in the next poll – knocked off No. 2 Arab and No. 5 Hayden in succession to advance to the finale.

When the Tigers and the Vikings go to battle, it could turn into a prelude to the state championship tournament as both squads have wrestlers ranked across the board.

Two of the match-ups to watch are 182 pounds and Heavyweight.  At 182, Griffith (No. 4) will battle third-ranked Jamie Burham; Heavyweight features a clash between No. 2 Collin Langley and No. 5 Grover.

Individually, the Tigers roster features No. 2 Phillips (106), No. 4 Bell (138), No. 3 McCarry (152) and No. 5 Rogers (220). Jasper – loaded with younger Vikings – feature No. 2 Kortez Samuels (113), No. 1 Antonio Nash (132), No. 3 Carter Reed (160), No. 5 Luke Horsley (170) and No. 1 Cole Carter (195).


Hayden 45, Scottsboro 33

Jasper 43, Arab 27

Tallassee 57, Elberta 11

Gulf Shores 66, Beauregard 15


Jasper 42, Hayden 32

Tallassee 32, Gulf Shores 29


Jasper vs. Tallassee, at Bill Harris Arena, Friday, Jan. 20, 5:30 p.m.


Hayden vs. Gulf Shores, at Bill Harris Arena, Friday, Jan. 20, 5:30 p.m.

Founder/Publisher of Central Alabama Scoreboard. Former sportsguy, and managing editor.

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