KISSIMMEE — The Lifetime television network wouldn’t buy this script. Or would it?
Redemption story gone right after a horrible end to the previous season. A healthy and cordial, if not full-on friendly rivalry, is built during the regular season and comes to a crescendo with a meeting in their competition’s biggest stage. Both sides take knocks that threaten their ability to continue.
A third knock, the second one against the redemption story, nearly does end the match. Coaches and medical officials state their cases in a small circle just off the arena of competition. An arena full of onlookers, at full yell, “LET THEM WRESTLE!” Those in charge allow it, although probably privately reluctant to do so after a stretcher and a wheelchair are first wheeled on, then wheeled off of, the arena floor.
One of the rivals hits the other with the strongest blast double he’s ever thrown, only to be fended off. Finally, the wrestler who was nearly not allowed to compete, trailing by one point in the very last moments of this level of his sports career, completes a desperate, last-second takedown on the edge of the mat to go ahead by one point as time expires.
Or did it? The time of the takedown is the subject of remonstrance by the possible losing coach, a coach of a program that’s already been snakebit by a judgment call earlier in the same tournament, been snakebit by earlier 50-50 judgment calls in tournaments in prior seasons. The wrestlers share a private moment with one another, saying words we’ll probably never know and, for many, can never understand.
The takedown stands. The arena goes nuts.
Too impossible to believe, even for Lifetime?
Believe it, because it happened Saturday night between seniors Garrett Tyre of Clay and Jamari Watson of Raines in the FHSAA 1A 220-pound state championship match Saturday night at Silver Spurs Arena.
The Jacksonville and surrounding-area titans met for the third time in 2021-22 in the state final, with Tyre taking wins in both the Clay Rotary (11-9) and at Wakulla for the Region 1 final (fall in 5:05) for Watson’s two losses on the year.
After a scoreless first period, Tyre scored first via escape, but Watson scored via his traditional blast double to take the lead midway through the second, and escaped four seconds into the third period to go up, 3-2. There were three different stoppages for injury time after the pair went off the mat, first Watson and then Tyre twice, and the second threatened to take Tyre out entirely.
While Clay coaches and medical professionals conferred on the feasibility of a third return to the match, Tyre demonstrated his ability to walk heel-toe for several steps, earning the crowd’s roar of approval. After the match resumed for the third time, Watson threw in another blast double that was audible several feet away, but no points. Tyre then in the last seconds got Watson for a takedown on the edge as time expired.
“I remember hitting my head. They told me to walk and I started tilting, and they first said I can’t do this, no matter how good I am, so I did a field sobriety test out there,” Tyre said. “We were both pretty shaken up out there (at different points). I’ve never felt that kind of force before.
“(Winning state) means the world. I’ve been wrestling since I was ifve years old. I don’t even know how to explain it. This year, everyone’s been telling me how much better a person I’ve been (since the 2021 Uncivil War, where he was hit with a flagrant misconduct and kept out of the post-season). Had that not happened (then), this would not have happened (now).”
That’s the kind of storyline and match that overshadowed the brilliant wrap put on the 2021-22 season by South Walton senior Max Brewster (120), who was the first 1A, and as it turned out, only other champion on the night.
Brewster, whose only loss in 2021-22 was a weight class up at War on the Shore in mid-January, carried an otherwise spotless record into the final against Palm Bay senior Shaver Jackson.
After a scoreless first period, Jackson got on the board first 30 seconds into the second with an escape, but Brewster would score the match’s only takedown, springboarding it into a 3-point nearfall turn and insurmountable lead. Brewster would escape from bottom in the third period, giving away a stall point to Jackson later to take a 6-2 decision.
The win, combined with later wins from Ft Walton Beach’s Cedric Fairrow and girls-side wins from Mosley’s Valarie Solorio (100) and Henlee Haynes (170), marked the fourth title that the Panhandle won in 2021-22.
“Train your butt off in the post-season, that’s when it matters,” Brewster said, noting that with a walking-around weight of 136 or so, that he’s ready for a good post-season feed.
“Training hard, putting in extra hours of work. It’s all worth it even when you’re cutting. I’ve had constant support from my family and my coaches.”
Clay finished as the top area team in 1A, finishing eighth with 77 points as a team. In addition to Tyre’s gold at 220, the Blue Devils got medal efforts from Dominic Martin (5th at 182), plus 7ths from Maverick Rainwater (120), Luke Boree (145) and Ethan Larsen (170), plus an 8th from Braden Glavin (113).
Suwannee, also, cracked the top 10 with 51.5 points, thanks to medal efforts from Tyson Musgrove (3rd at 152) and Brody Boehm (4th at 126), plus a 7th from Austin McKinney (132) and 8ths from Topher Pearson (106) and Austin Howard (160).
Raines, behind Watson’s runnerup effort and a 5th from De’Quon King (120), was 14th with 36.5 points, with South Walton a half-point back in 15th on Brewster’s gold, plus an 8th from Nick Lee (285). Palatka, on 3rds from Mikade Harvey (132) and Brandon Lewis (138), was T-17th with 31 points, while Wakulla was 20th with 23 points, thanks to medals from Isaiah Wilson (6th at 132) and Julian Harvey (7th at 106).
Bishop Kenny finished T-21st with 21 points, with Roberto Cuartero placing 4th at 152, while Deltona and North Bay Haven finished T-27th with 17 points behind medal efforts from the Wolves’ Kevin Kerns (5th at 132) and Buccaneers’ David Mercado (4th at 195). Yulee was T-30th with 15 points, with Dylan Johns (145) placing eighth, while Bolles was 34th with 13 points on a 6th from Jack Pyburn (285). Fernandina Beach (11 points) was T-36th as Enzo Gamba (160) took seventh, while Baker County finished T-38th (10 points) on Toby Kinghorn’s sixth at 195.
Our North Florida Matmen Facebook page has galleries from each day of the tournament, including action photos from Saturday’s medal round and finals session as well. Or, those same photos can all be found on our Instagram page, nflamatmen.
A complete listing of medalists for the state, with all coverage-area wrestlers first-listed in bold print, follows.
Championship: Sebastian Degennaro (Jensen Beach) tf. Jonathan Moder (First Baptist-Naples), 15-0, 3:58.
3rd: Lincoln Sledzianowski (Somerset) d. Vincent Biondoletti (Coral Shores), 11-4.
5th: Jonathan Espinosa (Mulberry) d. Logan Delos Santos (Palm Bay), 6-5.
7th: Julian Harvey (Wakulla) d. Topher Pearson (Suwannee), 3-1.
Championship: Gavin Nolan (Clearwater CC) d. Andres DiGregoli (First Baptist-Naples), 8-1.
3rd: Peyton Vargas (Cardinal Gibbons) d. Matthew Velasco (Somerset), 3-0.
5th: Alex McMiller (Satellite) p. Gian Ortiz (Jensen Beach), 1:00.
7th: Raider Morelli (Space Coast) d. Braden Glavin (Clay), 4-0.
Championship: Max Brewster (South Walton) d. Shaver Jackson (Palm Bay), 6-2.
3rd: Ryan Mooney (Jensen Beach) md. Michael Kersey (First Baptist-Naples), 11-0.
5th: De’Quon King (Raines) p. Jonathan Hudson (Cardinal Gibbons), 4:03.
7th: Maverick Rainwater (Clay) ID over Ethan Tran (Mater Lakes).
Consi semi: Kersey p. King, 4:19.
Championship: Nicholas Yancey (Cardinal Gibbons) d. Tristan Sainz (Somerset), 5-1.
3rd: Jonny Dobbs (Jensen Beach) d. Brody Boehm (Suwannee), 8-2.
5th: Talon Maple (Zephyrhills Christian) d. Mason Medina (Bishop Moore), 9-2.
7th: Kris Hunter (Tenoroc) d. Brycen Warren (Lemon Bay), 6-2.
Consi semis: Boehm d. Maple, 4-0.
Championship: Frankie Florio (Am Heritage-Delray) d. Ryan Duguay (Jensen Beach), 9-2.
3rd: Mikade Harvey (Palatka) d. Ronald Theilacker (Palm Bay), 8-6.
5th: Kevin Kerns (Deltona) p. Isaiah Wilson (Wakulla), 4:50.
7th: Austin McKinney (Suwannee) d. Justin Brady (Lemon Bay), 5-4.
Consi semis: Harvey d. Wilson, 4-3; Theilacker md. Kerns, 11-1.
Championship: Jewell Williams (Jensen Beach) d. Andrew DeSola (Am Heritage-Delray), 6-2.
3rd: Brandon Lewis (Palatka) md. Jaden Harrah (Island Coast), 9-1.
5th: Rashad Hannon (Somerset) d. Billy Day (Cocoa Beach), 9-2.
7th: Daniel Ward (First Academy) p. Joe Castellone (First Baptist-Naples), 2:40.
Consi semi: Lewis d. Hannon, 11-8.
Championship: Azakin Sejour (Mater Lakes) d. Brandon Cody (Master’s Academy), 7-2.
3rd: Nathan Furman (Palm Bay) p. Gavin Patton (First Baptist-Naples), 2:40.
5th: Michael Sainz (Somerset) d. Ryan Beirne (Satellite), 5-2.
7th: Luke Boree (Clay) ID over Dylan Johns (Yulee).
Championship: Michael Shannon (Master’s Academy) d. Robert Limperis (Cardinal Gibbons), 7-3.
3rd: Tyson Musgrove (Suwannee) d. Roberto Cuartero (Bishop Kenny), 3-2.
5th: Dylan Fox (Jensen Beach) p. Luis Bellon (Somerset), 2:25.
7th: Tyler Rodriguez (Port Charlotte) p. Javier Lopez (Zephyrhills Christian), 1:37.
Consi semis: Cuartero p. Fox, 3:00; Musgrove p. Bellon, 3:46.
Championship: Kendrick Hodge (Somerset) d. Koen Hoffman (Lemon Bay), 2-1, TB-1.
3rd: Konner Stuttgen (Bonita Springs) d. Omer Barak (Am Heritage-Delray), 8-4.
5th: Danil Korochenskiy (Cardinal Gibbons) d. Vish Williams (McKeel), 8-4.
7th: Enzo Gamba (Fernandina Beach) d. Austin Howard (Suwannee), 6-5.
Championship: Christian Moder (First Baptist-Naples) d. Chase Alden (Lemon Bay), 7-0.
3rd: Michael McCarthy (Satellite) p. Owen McNabb (McKeel), 2:48.
5th: Nate Sopotnick (Jensen Beach) p. Carson Schiavello (Clearwater CC), 1:56.
7th: Ethan Larsen (Clay) d. Nate Greene (Hernando), 10-3.
Championship: Lance Schyck (Lemon Bay) d. Joseph Nicolosi (Am Heritage-Delray), 7-2.
3rd: Michael Mocco (Coral Springs Charter) d. Kyle Grey (Lincoln Park), 5-4.
5th: Dominic Martin (Clay) md. Octavion Osby (Palm Bay), 13-1.
7th: Jaden Markus (Villages) tf. Cole Kanehl (Hudson), 15-0, 3:05.
Consi semi: Mocco md. Martin, 11-3.
Championship: Mikey Tal Shahar (Am Heritage-Delray) p. Zach Lewicki (Key West), 1:39.
3rd: Matt O’Hara (Jensen Beach) md. David Mercado (North Bay Haven), 9-1.
5th: Caleo Carrera (Palm Bay) ID over Toby Kinghorn (Baker County).
7th: Izaiah Jauma (Villages) d. Marcus Lopez (Lemon Bay), 11-5.
Consi semis: O’Hara p. Kinghorn, 4:22; Mercado md. Carrera, 14-2.
Championship: Garrett Tyre (Clay) d. Jamari Watson (Raines), 4-3.
3rd: Darian Gillins (Tenoroc) d. Pharee Reed (Lakewood), 6-5, UTB.
5th: Damian Soto (Mater Lakes) p. Omarion Jones (Lake Region), 2:14.
7th: Grant Cooper (Cardinal Gibbons) d. JaBrian Davis (Clewiston), 3-2.
Championship: Ethan Vergara (Mater Lakes) d. Carlos Gerardino (Palm Bay), 3-2.
3rd: Matthew Jimenez (Somerset) d. Caleb Rodriguez (First Baptist-Naples), 6-3.
5th: Devin Williams (Hernando) ID over Jack Pyburn (Bolles).
7th: Andre Otto (Key West) p. Nick Lee (South Walton), :27.
Consi semi: Jimenez d. Pyburn, 2-1.
Final brackets for the state tournament can be found HERE.