GREEN COVE SPRINGS — Clay’s tradition means every local opponent treats a dual with the Blue Devils as a state-tournament-level opportunity, because it is.
Wednesday night, visiting Creekside found itself trailing by double digits, and then trailing a second time later after fighting through the first deficit. But falls from the lower bookend of the Knights’ lineup proved to be the difference in Creekside’s 35-33 win over Clay in an early test for both teams.
“It was a good match, with us missing four of our starters and Clay having some holes with starters as well,” Creekside coach Rick Marabell said in email to Matmen on Thursday. “Our veterans stepped up in the matches we needed to win or keep it close. Very proud that our team keeps working and moving forward.”
Creekside (7-1) took an early 9-0 lead behind Hunter England’s fall at 126 and Keanan Sexton’s 5-2 win at 132. But Clay would erase that with four straight wins from 138 through 160, with pins from Aiden Mayo (145), Dominic Martin (152) and Luca Fiannaca (160), plus a 7-2 decision from Luke Boree at 138.
The St Johns Knights would rally with three bonus-point wins in a row, starting with two majors from Hunter Brown (12-3 at 182) and Bryan Fortay (12-2 at 195), plus a fall from Vincent Approbato (220), to take a 23-21 lead with four weights to go.
Clay would break back with Ethan Daniels’ pin at 285 to go up four, but Creekside’s Andrew Feeks would allow the Knights to regain the lead with his pin at 106, and Conner Wright secured the dual win with a fall at 113. The dual would close with Maverick Rainwater’s fall at 120 in favor of the Blue Devils.
Creekside will be at district rival Oakleaf’s Friday Knight Lights on Friday, while Clay will travel to Ponte Vedra for its one-day duals tournament on Saturday.
Oakleaf 43, Middleburg 36: At Middleburg, in a matchup of county rivals, the Knights spotted the host Broncos three different double-digit leads before winning each match between 132 and 160 to close out the win.
Logan Gilbert (132), Trevor Owens (138), Christian Griffith (145) and James McClintic (160) each took pins for Oakleaf (4-2), which had two forfeits in hand. Kevin Gilley (120) added a 15-4 major and Jacob Dewald (152) pushed through to a 4-3 decision.
For Middleburg (1-4), the Broncos got falls from Tucker Cody (182), Shane Jordan (106), Grady Woodard (113), Riley Girgis (126) and Alex Nayfack (170) on Senior Night, with one forfeit in hand.
Oakleaf will host the Friday Knight Lights on Friday, while Middleburg will be at Ponte Vedra’s duals tournament on Saturday.
New Smyrna Beach 60, Seabreeze 17: At Daytona Beach, the visitors rolled up seven wins in a row, and wins in 11 of 12 matches, after giving the Sandcrabs a 6-0 lead.
Justis Chandler (138), Michael Shannon (145), Avante Chamble (152), Jackson Farmer (160), Austin Mitchum (220) and Noah Cortez (285) each had pins for the Barracudas, while Jamey Bruner (15-0 at 126) and Simjay Engberg (15-0 at 106) took techs. Both Jace Engberg (10-2 at 132) and Doug Dittmer (9-1 at 195) had major decisions for New Smyrna Beach.
Seabreeze (1-3) had its lone contested win, plus two forfeits in hand, at 113, with Cynder Melton’s third-period fall.
New Smyrna Beach will next wrestle at Deltona on December 17, while Seabreeze — according to our best info; we don’t have a schedule in hand — next goes to Lyman’s Bill Scott Memorial IBT on the 18th and 19th.
Mandarin 66, Ponte Vedra 14: At Jacksonville, the host Mustangs dominated the scene against the Sharks, taking 11 weight-class wins, including three forfeits in hand.
Devin Foster (120), Ethan Harvey (126), Jameel Smith (132), Frank Kershaw (138), Xaine Evans (145), Tony Carter (182) and Andres Rodriguez (285) each won by fall for Mandarin, which had its season-opener. Royal Felton-Norman (220) won by injury default as well.
Ponte Vedra (0-1) was led by Luke Calamari’s fall at 195. Rett Maritato (170) took a second-period tech (16-1 in 2:15) and William Boss (160) pushed through an 8-2 decision.
Mandarin will face Gateway rival at Fletcher at home on Tuesday, while Ponte Vedra hosts a varsity duals tournament and girls’ IBT on Saturday.
Arnold 36, Bozeman 30: At Panama City, the visiting Marlins bagged four pins, with two forfeits in hand, for the dual matchup between 1A-District 1 rivals.
Lucas Biddle (113), Konstantin Lekov (120), Porter Beach (138) and Tanner Lewis (285) each won by fall for Arnold, which began its dual season Wednesday night.
Bozeman (0-2) had one contested victory, a fall for Kaleb Daigle (145), with four forfeits in hand.
Both the Marlins and Bucks next will compete in FHSAA dual team tournament action, with 1A-District 1 duals at South Walton on December 18.
Englewood 54, Terry Parker 12: At Jacksonville, the visiting Rams stayed unbeaten (2-0) in duals with six pins, plus three forfeits in hand.
Ke’Eric Merrell (160), Darryl Sam (182), Sam Howard (195), Melvin Wiggins (220), Travis Shaver (132) and Lynden North (138) all had falls for Englewood.
The host Braves took two pins, with Jesus Ramirez (285) and Christian DeSouza (126) securing those.
Englewood will travel to Nease for a dual on Tuesday, while Terry Parker will be at Ponte Vedra’s girls IBT on Saturday and have the whole team dual against St Augustine on December 16.
Tate 45, Milton 36: At Milton, the visiting Aggies rolled up six forfeits, as both teams won two contested matches in the dual opener for both teams (the dual was Tate’s season opener).
Jacob Turner (195) won by fall for Tate, while Gabriel McKinley edged his way to a 7-6 decision at 285.
Milton got two falls, with four forfeits in hand, from Jordan Christie (145) and Michael McCain (152).
Both the Aggies and Panthers will compete at district rival Gulf Breeze’s Ryan Blackwell Invitational on Saturday.
Raines 36, Ribault 12: At Jacksonville, the host Vikings put a damper on Ribault’s first competition as a program in 2020-21, as both teams kicked off their seasons.
Raynarde Thomas (182) and Jamari Watson (220) led the way with pins for Raines, which had four forfeits in hand.
The Trojans’ Ahmad Barney (170) won the school’s first contested match in recent school history, with a victory by disqualification.
Raines will return to the mats for a tri-meet at First Coast with fellow Gateway rival Paxon. We do not have a schedule for Ribault, so the Trojans’ next opponent is unknown with certainty at this writing.
Wolfson 60, Stanton 12: At Jacksonville, the host Wolfpack rolled out to a 24-0 lead, then won five matches in a row from 120 through 145 to win the dual in the season-opener for both teams.
Joseph Decunto (182), Grant Authelet (195), Haydon Long (220), Colin Maxwell (120), Liam Strange (138) and Elijah Giles (170) each won by fall for Wolfson, which had four forfeits in hand.
Stanton picked up pins from Elias Spurlin at 113 and Grant Kelsey at 160.
Wolfson will host Paxon on Friday, while Stanton will next compete at Sandalwood’s Optimist Duals on December 19.
RESULTS: Box scores for all of these duals can be found HERE.