#UncivilWar: Fleming Takes Down Clay

Fleming Island’s Ronan Bozeman (foreground) completes a takedown on the edge of the mat against Clay’s Dominic Martin in #UncivilWar2023 Thursday night at Fleming Island. Bozeman won the match in sudden victory and the Golden Eagles won the dual, 55-16, in the regular-season finale for both teams (Photo by Matmen).

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.

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#Uncivil: Golden Eagle Pressure Punishes Clay

Fleming Island’s Laird Duhaylungsod (foreground) works to spin around Clay’s Rylan Herrera during 126-pound action Thursday night at Clay in the #UncivilWar for 2022. Duhaylungsod won the match and the Golden Eagles won the War, 33-20 (Photo by Shannon Heaton).

GREEN COVE SPRINGS — Once again in 2022, northern supremacy, throughout all of Region 1, was determined by the outcome of the Uncivil War.

And the way that Fleming Island won in Thursday night’s 33-20 victory over Clay in the Blue Devil gym — and who won — might say a lot about how the Golden Eagles intend to hold that supremacy not just into next season, but perhaps for a couple of seasons to come.

With a lineup that had just one senior in it — and a first-year starter at that — Fleming Island (23-2 in duals for the season) didn’t so much explode Clay’s hopes to win the rivalry dual for a second straight year as it slowly pushed those hopes aside, match by match, minute by minute, even move by move by a group that defied its years with a patient certainty against which the Blue Devils (14-3) found few answers.

“What we want to do, especially for guys at a young age like a lot of these are, is just be where our feet are,” Golden Eagles coach PJ Cobbert said. “We can’t control what regional we’re in or what district we’re in, but we can control everything we can do right here.

“And they’re ahead of the game on that.”

The teams traded decisions in the first two weight classes, with Jhoel Robinson (182) opening with a 5-2 win for Fleming Island and Clay’s Kedtric Wilbon taking a 12-6 win at 195.

The Blue Devils then forged a little bit of daylight toward a lead, going out to a 12-3 advantage when the Golden Eagles forfeited at 220 to Clay’s Garrett Tyre, followed by a 3-2 win at 285 from Ethan Daniels, who had not appeared for Clay at last weekend’s 23rd annual Rotary tournament.

That daylight was threatened immediately, however, as the Golden Eagles erased the Clay lead on Shane Duhaylungsod’s 3-2 win at 106 and Jayce Paridon’s second-period fall (3:24) at 113. Clay would build a lead back with Maverick Rainwater’s pin (3:16) at 120.

But a subtracted team point against Clay, and three straight Fleming Island wins thereafter on majors from Laird Duhaylungsod (9-1, bumped up a weight from his usual 120 to 126) and Joshua Mukaddam (Fleming’s only senior starter, with a 9-0 win at 132), plus a 10-4 win at 138 from Kaden Schaefer, would give the Golden Eagles the lead for the remainder of the dual.

During that stretch, tat trio of FIHS competitors epitomized the group’s methodical approach, building wave upon wave upon wave of pressure in both denying opportunities and hitting every chance they, as a group, got.

“They found a way to score more points, they were more aggressive on the whole,” Clay coach Jim Reape said of the Fleming opponent. “They did better jobs of attacking on the feet and on top. We had to get guys to score; they did a jood job of that. When we had to win, we didn’t.”

And although Clay senior Luke Boree stopped momentum for a moment with his double-overtime 3-2 win at 145, the Golden Eagles’ next group — Christopher Chop (10-1 major at 152), Ronan Bozeman (4-1 decision at 160) and Joshua Sandoval (9-3 decision at 170) — were just as unforgiving as the previous three in slamming the door shut on the dual.

“These boys have wrestled South Dade, wrestled Southwest (Miami), wrestled (Tampa) Jesuit. That’s as good as it gets in the state,” Cobbert said. “That’s nothing against tonight, but when these kids have wrestled at that level, they just understand they’ve seen the biggest battles already.

“And we get to bring back 99% of them.”

Thursday night’s dual ended the regular season for both teams. They’ll now diverge into their classifications for IBT work, as Fleming Island will travel to Columbia for the 2A-District 2 tournament on Wednesday. Clay will host the 1A-District 4 IBT that same day.

A box score for the War can be found HERE.

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