By SHANNON HEATON
North Florida Matmen
GREEN COVE SPRINGS — The north’s top team, Fleming Island, put on a suffocating performance in the #UncivilWar at Clay Wednesday night.
The Golden Eagles won big and won close, but any way that they won — and even when they lost — they didn’t allow a single Blue Devil takedown in a 48-12 dual victory that closed out the regular season for both teams.
“We don’t compare ourselves to other people or study a lot of film because we just have to get better,” Fleming Island coach PJ Cobbert said.
“Because every match is a different situation. All we can do is whatever we can do. But zero takedowns is a great thing. If you give up zero takedowns, you should never lose.”
The Golden Eagles (26-2) won the first seven weight classes, with Gannon Janssen (145) and Luke Chop (bumped up a weight to 170) earning first-period falls.
At 160, freshman Jhoel Robinson made his Uncivil debut with a 9-1 major, and Tanner Hill (3-2 at 152), Gavin Smith (5-2 at a bumped-up 182), Nick Janssen (3-1 at a bumped-up 195) and Jeffrey Lascano (3-1 in sudden victory at a bumped-up 220) all had decisions.
The bumps saw no dropoff in performance and allowed Fleming to rest senior Chad Nix.
“We weren’t going to wrestle Nix, that was the plan from the get-go,” Cobbert said. “Our guys have had pressure before, so we could put our true freshman Jhoel in, and he did a great job.
“Our guys wrestled their butts off.”
Clay got on the scoreboard at 285, where the Blue Devils’ Derrek Mosley was able to ride out his half of a double-overtime session en route to a 2-1 win. Two matches later, Luke Davis secured a key late reversal in the second period to grab a 3-1 decision at 120.
“Hand fighting,” Clay coach Hunter Hill said about the key difference in the dual. “They (Fleming) didn’t get out of position pretty much the whole time. They did a great job of staying in front; we couldn’t get out of it. Couldn’t stop it.
“That’s why they’re second in 3A. They bring it, no doubt about it, and it’s hard to simulate that in our practices.”
But Hill had praise for his match winners. “Derrek’s calm, cool and collected, almost too much so, but when he’s on, he’s on,” Hill said. “Luke’s a gamer now. He was unseeded at Rotary, the only guy in the finals that wasn’t a state qualifier. Definitely was fired up tonight.”
While Clay had stopped the early bleeding with those wins, plus a Jacob Bobo forfeit at 106, Fleming made sure it kept bringing the pressure, as Hunter Herrington (14-4 at 113) and Riley Holton (13-1 126) fired up both sides of the crowd, which had grown a little quiet after back-to-back overtime sessions at 220 and 285.
Then, the Golden Eagles’ Isaac Padgett (132) and Dalton Williams (138) closed out the dual with pins and closed the book on another Uncivil chapter until 2021, when the teams will dual at Fleming Island.
While JV wrestlers for both teams will hit the mats on Saturday at Osceola for the JV state tournament, the next varsity competitions will be district traditional tournaments. Clay will be hosting the 1A-District 4 event on February 19, while Fleming Island will travel to Nease for the 3A-District 1 event on the 22nd.
Complete results for this dual can be found HERE.
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