ST JOHNS — As soon as this year’s classifications came out, a new representative from the eastern half of 3A-Region 1 was a done deal.
The open question was whether it would be a first-time region duals finalist or no.
Flagler Palm Coast and DeLand made sure the answer to that question was yes with their quarterfinal wins, and then the Bulldogs overcame some lineup shortages to push past their District 2 rivals, 42-36, in a Region 1 semifinal round Thursday night at Creekside.
The Bulldogs (11-7 in duals for the season) will face Hagerty in the 3A-Region 1 final at 6 p.m. on January 21 at Osceola, with the winner advancing to the 3A state semis the next morning. Hagerty is a three-time region finalist, with Thursday wins over Windermere and District 3 rival Timber Creek at home.
The winner of that region final dual will face the Region 3 champion, either Ft Pierce Central or Wellington, in the state semifinals on the 22nd.
Flagler Palm Coast advanced to the semi behind a 45-27 win over Oakleaf in the quarters, while DeLand (13-4) powered past host Creekside, 46-30, in its quarter, ensuring an all-District 2 semi.
Oakleaf (unknown season record) built a 15-6 early lead behind a 6-4 double-overtime decision from Jordan Mitchell (285) and an injury-default win for Onjel Caraballo (195), plus a forfeit at 106, but the Bulldogs answered back with a 15-0 run on pins from Kole Hannant (120) and John Hald (126), plus a 4-3 win at 113 from Carson Baert.
The Clay County Knights regained the lead, 27-21, thanks to a fall from Keon Barrientos (132) and decisions from Jackson Hemphill (7-2 at 138) and Marcus McGee (6-0 at 145). From there, though, Flagler flexed its upper-weight muscle, with a back-to-back 4-pack of pins from Timothy King (152), Bryce Dodge (160), Blane DeFord (170) and Marcelo Gonzalez (182) to close out the dual, with Garrick Schwartz (220) kicking off the Bulldog scoring.
There was quite a bit of back-and-forth in DeLand’s win over the hosts, as the teams traded points through the first four weights (with the Bulldogs’ Marion Smokes by pin at 220 and a forfeit to DeLand at 285, while Creekside (16-3) had pins from Eli Pagan at 195 and Andrew Feeks at 106). DeLand established a double-digit lead at 22-12 with Grady Bryant’s fall at 113 and Phoenix Krauth’s 11-2 major at 120. The lead stayed at 10 through the next three weights, as another points trade took place with Joshua Folsom’s fall at 132 against Creekside decisions from Conner Wright (16-13 at 126) and Keanan Sexton (9-2 at 138).
DeLand pushed it to 16, 34-18, on a fall from Lane Wishart at 145, but the St Johns Knights would get it back down to four on pins from Lee Leavell (152) and Diego Rivera (160). DeLand then shut the door with Paul Derosby’s fall at 170, with Gavin Rodriguez-Cayro (182) taking on another six with a pin to finish the dual.
In the final, DeLand raced away to an 18-3 start behind falls from Smokes (220) and Bryant (113), plus a forfeit at 106, but Flagler — which got its first points on a 5-2 win from Seth Davis at 285 — would not go away. Pins from Hannant (120) and Hald (126) cut the gap to 18-15, but DeLand strung together three max-point wins to go out to a 21-point lead, as Folsom (138) and Wishart (145) took pins, with a forfeit to DeLand at 132.
The District 2 champs were down, but not out, going on a 27-0 run to close out the dual, with another back-to-back 4-pack of falls from King (152), Dodge (160), DeFord (170) and Gonzalez (182), with Schwartz making one takedown stand up for a 3-1 win at 195.
Flagler will be off the competitive mats until the 21st, while DeLand will be at Space Coast’s Viper Classic today and Saturday. Creekside will be at Wolfson’s Wolfpack Challenge on Saturday, while Oakleaf is off until Tuesday, when the Clay County Knights host Keystone Heights.
Box scores from all three duals at Creekside, along with all other available boxes in the state, can be found HERE. Action photos from Thursday can be found on our Facebook (North Florida Matmen) and Instagram (nflamatmen) pages.
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.