YULEE — Episcopal’s December ratcheted up the intensity and competitive level expected from the 1A-District 3 dual team tournament Wednesday night.
But Yulee’s experience in events such as these ultimately proved decisive, as the Hornets delivered a second consecutive district dual title behind double-digit wins over Fernandina Beach (57-19) and the Eagles (47-21) to advance to next week’s Region 1 quarterfinal round.
“We had started out the season quarantined for two weeks. We had an opportunity at Cam Brown (to win the tournament) and we missed out, and we had some opportunities at the duals (before Christmas) and missed out,” Hornets coach Brandon Crowder said.
“We told the kids that every simgle person has to do do their job. We had to stack Ws at practice, and we finally got our roster back in shape. It has to be uncomfortable for the kids, or I’m not doing my job. But I’m proud of the kids. Very confident in my guys. If they keep doing what they’re doing, they will be successful.”
Yulee (6-2 in duals for the season) won six of the first seven matches against Fernandina Beach, rolling up a 33-4 lead, effectively clinching the dual with Will Harvey’s fall at 285.
Against Episcopal (14-3), the Hornets never trailed (they briefly trailed 4-3 after two weights in the Fernandina dual), rolling out to a 25-0 lead. Yulee never had smaller than a 19-point lead after that against the Eagles (14-3).
Still, though, Episcopal qualified for its first Region 1 appearance with a 45-25 win over Bishop Kenny (13-8); the Eagles trailed early (7-6 and 13-12) but then won seven of the last nine matches to put the dual away.
“I was way prouder of the intensity we showed against Yulee than earlier against Bishop Kenny. Yulee has a better team, a much better team than what we faced two weeks ago,” Eagles coach Jefferson Brant said. “We had good practices over break, but momentum just kind of stops over the holidays. Guys are in and out on trips and we had a couple of injuries.”
Yulee double winners on the night were Jacob Proffit (113, 2 pins), Dylan Johns (138, 2 decisions), Isaiah Shook (145, pin & major), Jesse Johnson (152, pin & decision, Aston Ricks (160, 2 pins), Collin Sewell (170, 2 pins), Braylen Ricks (182, pin & decision) and Will Harvey (285, 2 pins).
Episcopal got two wins from Cohen Chesser (106, decision & pin), Nicholas Pressley (120, 2 pins), Joe Jackson (132, pin & decision) and Lawson Perry (195, pin).
For the Crusaders, Ryan Mayer (113), Paul Barakat (170) and Kevin Thallemer (285) recorded pins, while Roberto Cuartero (152) won by major decision and Luke Ghannam (145) by decision. Fernandina Beach’s points came on pins from Caden Kubatzke (120) and Kolby Kidd (220), a major from Enzo Gamba (145) and decision from Jeremy Mahoney (126).
Episcopal will face the District 4 champ, to be decided Thursday evening, at the District 4 champ’s gym on January 14th in a Region 1 quarterfinal, while Yulee will take on the District 4 runnerup.
Results from the three contested duals can be found HERE.
Before the 14th, Yulee and Bishop Kenny will reconvene at the Hornets’ annual Joe Bees Memorial Battle of the Border on Friday, while Episcopal will compete at Robert E Lee’s USMC Challenge one-day IBT on Saturday. Fernandina Beach is off until January 16 and its War on the Shore tournament at home that day.