E.A. Sports Today

Oxford vies for title

Oxford earns a spot in the finals of the Class 6A State Duals Tournament with rout of Wetumpka; Cleburne County fell in the 1A-5A semifinals to Moody

By Al Muskewitz
East Alabama Sports Today

WETUMPKA — While it might not be recognized as such in some circles, don’t tell Matt Hicks, his Oxford wrestlers or anyone in the statewide wrestling community the Yellow Jackets aren’t chasing a state championship Saturday in Birmingham.

Oxford earned a spot in the Class 6A finals of the first State Duals Tournament by rolling over Wetumpka 53-13 Tuesday night. The Yellow Jackets now face Southside-Gadsden at the Bill Harris Arena, 1 p.m. Saturday, in as big a head-to-head team match as you’ll get anywhere.

“My feeling is it’s a state championship; that’s how they’re approaching it,” Hicks said. “If I’m blessed to win it, I’m treating it like a state championship. People can call it what they want or say it’s another tournament, but it’s special.

“We’ve been fighting for this ever since I’ve been coaching. Everybody in the Southeast has had it before us and everybody who has it recognizes it as a state championship. As far as my kids are concerned, as far as my coaching staff is concerned, our community, we’re playing for a state championship.”

The traditionally recognized state high school championship is next month in Huntsville. In that one, individual sectional qualifiers converge on the VonBraun Center and vie for points for their team as they advance through the field.

A school could win a state championship with a limited number of wrestlers. The State Duals title can hinge on any of the 14 weight classes and all are involved.

“This is so great for our sport, so great for our kids,” Hicks said. “I told my kids yesterday in practice here in about three weeks they’re going to decide what team in 6A has the best 5, 6, 7 wrestlers, that’s what it’s going to figure out.

“I’m not against the traditional tournament — I won three of them (at St. Clair County and two at Leeds). I’m fine with that and I think there’s a place for it, but … this is going to take into account all 14 weight classes. This is a total team tournament; it’s all about the wrestling team as a whole. I’m looking forward to the day they recognize the State Duals championship in the same manner as the other.”

Even with a lineup that was shuffled and missing two regulars, the Yellow Jackets had their way with Wetumpka; they lost only three matches. On a night with many big wins, among the biggest was Clay Webb scoring a decision over Trent Holley at 285 and Chanceton Holifield’s pin of Tracey Brooks at 160.

Webb defeated one of the Southeast’s top wrestlers in his class after losing to him earlier this season by a similar score. Holifield is an eighth-grader with limited varsity experience getting a chance to make a difference for his team that probably wouldn’t come yet in the other format.

The Jackets defeated Southside in a four-team show at the Oxford Sports Arena a few weeks ago. They got some surprising wins in the middle of the lineup, then won it by scoring pins at 220 and 285, the last two weight classes of the match.

“Things went our way that match; we had a leprechaun that night,” Hicks said. “The fun thing about it is you look their horses and who they are and you look and mine and know who they are and at the end of the day it’s not going to be those guys who decides who wins. In the traditional tournament those guys don’t play a role; in this one it’s huge.”

Tuesday’s Matches
1A-5A State Duals semifinals: Moody 42, Cleburne County 30
1A-5A State Duals semifinals: Arab 56, Hayden 12
6A State Duals semifinals: Oxford 53, Wetumpka 14
6A State Duals semifinals: Southside-Gadsden 37, Pinson Valley 31
Alexandria 62, Lincoln 12
Ranburne 54, Lincoln 17
Alexandria 52, Ranburne 24

State Duals Championship
Bill Harris Arena, Birmingham
Class 6A

Oxford vs. Southside-Gadsden, Saturday, 1 p.m.

Class 6A
Oxford 53, Wetumpka 13

106 – Chase Hicks (O) pinned Kyler Adams, 1:56 (6-0)
113 – Landon Burrage (O) def. Connor Bailey, 5-2 (9-0)
120 – Jakob Chisolm (O) pinned Tyler Anthony, 1:07 (15-0)
126 – Cole Blackwell (W) def. Dalton Dalrymple, 10-2 (15-4)
132 – Wesley Slick (O) tech fall over Kaleb Jones, 16-1 (20-4)
138 – Jackson Hurst (O) pinned Dalton White, 4:13 (26-4)
145 – Carson Lindsey (O) def. Mason Blackwell, 9-5 (29-4)
152 – Andrew Boyles (O) pinned Garrison Clark, 1:15 (35-4)
160 – Chanceton Holifield (O) pinned Tracey Brooks, 1:09 (41-4)
170 – Jack Peavey (O) pinned Zane Mason, 0:58 (47-4)
182 – Trent Barrett (W) pinned Parker Gay, 0:26 (47-10)
195 – Josh Thomas (O) dec. Noah Barclay, 4-3 (50-10)
220 – John Ellis Rawls (W) def. Matthew Muncher, 5-1 (50-13)
285 – Clay Webb (O) def. Trent Holley, 6-2 (53-13)

Class 1A-5A
Moody 42, Cleburne County 30

220 – Ryan Day (CC) pinned Jacob Kinkead, 1:44 (0-6)
285 – Steven Porter (M) pinned Trevor Ivey, 1:35 (6-6)
106 – Cory Land (M) pinned Christopher Carroll, 0:25 (12-6)
113 – Stephen Williams (M_ def. Dylan Turner, 4-1 (15-6)
120 – Will Patterson (M) pinned Mathew Williamson, 1:13 (21-6)
126 – D’Shawn (M) won by forfeit (27-6)
132 – Michael Land (M) pinned Hunter Beason, 3:54 (33-6)
138 – Zach Williamson (CC) def. Rashad Clark, 7-5 (33-9)
145 – Tyler Mayfield (CC) pinned Dustin Davis, 4:48 (33-15)
152 – Daniel Vazquez (M) def. Christopher Higgins, 9-6 (36-15)
160 – Ladarrius Fitts (M) pinned Jason Higgins, 4:45 (42-15)
170 – Christian Seale (CC) pinned Joey Pierson, 3:13 (42-21)
182 – Sam Pate (CC) def. Brady Price, 7-5 (42-24)
195 – Cade Smith (CC) won by forfeit (42-30)

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