SANTA ROSA BEACH — For five years, it’s been Wakulla vs Clay in the 1A-Region 1 final. And next week, it will be once again. But only barely.
Were it not for Wakulla’s ability to aggress and score points early in its dual with Suwannee in the 1A-Region 1 semifinals at South Walton, the rematch might not have happened, as the War Eagles turned back the Bulldogs, 31-30 in criteria, with most first points scored the deciding criterion.
Along with the War Eagles’ 57-15 win in the quarters over Rocky Bayou Christian, the two victories mean Wakulla (11-1) will advance to the Region 1 final, and indeed face Clay on January 21st at 11 a.m. at Osceola. Wakulla has three Region 1 duals titles to defend; Clay won last back in 2018.
The winner will take on the Region 3 champion, either Hudson or Lemon Bay, in the 1A state semifinals on the 22nd.
Suwannee (28-8) reached the semis for the second straight year, taking down District 1 champion South Walton, 51-25, to get a rematch with the War Eagles from their District 2 dual the previous week.
In the quarters, Wakulla steadily pulled away from the Knights (unknown season record), who scored first on Ethan Heathershaw’s 8-6 win at 138. The War Eagles bagged two max-point wins at 145 and 152, with Jae T Thaxton (152) winning by fall, but RBC cut the lead to 12-9 thanks to Jaden Scruggs’ pin at 160. Wakulla extended the lead a little more, behind Daniel Brattain’s 7-2 win at 170 and a forfeit win at 182.
Rocky Bayou got six back to cut the lead to 21-15 behind Jeremiah O’Sullivan’s fall at 195, but the War Eagles scored all the rest of the dual’s points behind a 36-0 run. Kohl Pippen (220) won by pin, with Wakulla bagging four straight tech falls (Julian Harvey by 26-11 count at 106, the dual-clincher with Conner Brown’s 17-2 tech at 113, David Culley with a 15-0 shutout at 120 and Juan Jimenez winning by a 19-3 tech at 126) before Isaiah Wilson finished off the dual with a 6-3 win at 132.
Suwannee and South Walton had a good scrap through the middles, as the Seahawks (unknown season record) scored first on Ryan Kurfirst’s 5-3 win at 138, followed by Tyson Musgrove’s fall for the Bulldogs at 145 and South Walton’s Chase Maas winning in response with a 9-0 major at 152 to make it 7-6, Seahawks. Suwannee then won four of the next six matches with a pair of forfeits, plus pins from Austin Howard (160) and James Prentice (170), while South Walton gained falls from Elijah Ramirez (195) and Nick Lee (285).
With the Bulldogs up, 30-19, Suwannee then had another 9-0 mini-run behind Topher Pearson’s pin at 113 and Eli Jolicoeur’s 6-0 win at 106, clinching the dual with the Pearson fall. South Walton got six more from Max Brewster’s pin at 120, but Suwannee closed out with falls from Brody Boehm (126) and Austin McKinney (132).
Wakulla opened up the ledger first in the final, going up 9-0 behind a 6-4 sudden-victory win from Hayden Reeves (145) and Thaxton’s fall at 152. Howard answered with a fall at 160 to make it 9-6, but the War Eagles had another 9-0 run thanks to Tyler Edenfield’s pin at 182 and a 12-5 decision from Brattain at 170. The Bulldogs got that gap down to 21-15 with two wins up top that sandwiched Pippen’s 7-5 sudden-victory win at 220, as Dustin Wood (195) won by fall and Eleteurio Meria (285) took a 2-1 decision.
Harvey’s fall at 106 re-established a double-digit lead temporarily, but Suwannee tied it at 27-27 behind a 12-0 run fueled by Boehm’s fall at 126 and decision wins from Pearson (5-4 at 113) and Justin Contreras (5-4 at 120). The teams then traded decisions at 132 and 138, with Wilson taking a 2-1 win for the War Eagles and Ayden Kirby edging his way to a 3-2 win for Suwannee. That sent everyone to the rulebooks to find a winner, with the dual tied at 30.
Wakulla, South Walton and Rocky Bayou Christian are all at Wewahitchka’s Gator Brawl this weekend, while Suwannee is hosting the Billy Saylor Duals this weekend.
Box scores from all three duals at South Walton, along with all other available boxes in the state, can be found HERE..
MISSING: We have a lot of missing results, from several teams around the coverage area, and we need YOUR help to clean that up. Please check out our SCHEDULE PAGE; if your school is listed as pending, or an event in which you took part is pending, see if your coach can send in your team’s part of that event. We will post results at any time of year, no matter how late they are when they are sent.