By MATMEN, Friday, 3:30 p.m.
FLEMING ISLAND — With Fleming Island and Clay now in the same FHSAA state classification, and therefore potentially seeing one another five times during a given wrestling season, events like Thursday night’s #UncivilWar2023 are perhaps more about positioning and foreshadowing than about area bragging rights as the War has been for the past 10 years.
And this year’s version was certainly about that, with new weight classes under exploration, wrestlers being held out to protect health for the following week — even three forfeits being handed out, something normally not found in Wars of the recent past.
As far as the action on the mat went, largely, things went down largely as they did last month in New Smyrna Beach at 2A-District 4 duals competition, with the Golden Eagles allowing just one Blue Devil contested win in a 55-16 regular-season finale for both teams.
Fleming (19-1) asserted early control, taking a 19-0 lead behind Laird Duhaylungsod’s second-period fall in 2:43 at 120, a 9-0 major from Shane Duhaylungsod at 113, and a 7-5 decision from the Golden Eagles’ Ethan Hoffstetter at 285, a match that kicked off the dual. FIHS also took a forfeit win at 106.
The Golden Eagles presented a shuffled lineup in the next two weights, however, with season-long 106 Jordan Mukaddam bumping to 126 for the War; Clay’s Brady Glavin used better length and size there to advantage, taking a 12-4 major that put the Blue Devils (21-10) on the board.
That would be the last contested win that Clay would get, however. Jayce Paridon bumped from his earlier 126 to 132, taking a fall there; while the Blue Devils would win by forfeit at 138 to answer that pin, the Golden Eagles strung together two more at 145 and 152 from Kaden Schaefer and Matthew Kotler to go up 27, 37-10, with five weights left.
Fleming forfeited to Clay at 160, which continued to give a mathematical opportunity for the Blue Devils to get back into the dual, but even that closed at 170, as Ronan Bozeman — after giving up first takedown almost immediately — rallied back, using a particularly-effective ankle pick twice for key takedowns, including one in sudden victory for an 8-6 win, putting the Golden Eagles up 24 and the dual out of reach with three weights left.
But Fleming wasn’t done applying pressure yet, as falls from elite seniors Joshua Sandoval (1:07 pin time at 182) and Jhoel Robinson (1:43 at 220) bookended a workmanlike 13-7 decision from Walter Poe at 195 to produce the final dual result.
The rivals will reconvene at Clay on Wednesday for the 2A-District 4 IBT, where they are projected to go 1-2 in the team standings.
RESULTS: Results from all Thursday competitions can be found HERE.