E.A. Sports Today

On to the finals

Oxford, Cleburne County heading to State Duals Championship after winning semifinal matches handily Tuesday

By Al Muskewitz
East Alabama Sports Today

OXFORD — The Oxford wrestling team is making a return trip to the State Duals Championship, but the job is only half done.

Yellow Jackets coach Matt Hicks told his wrestlers after they beat McAdory 51-18 in the Class 6A semifinals at the Sports Arena Tuesday the goal wasn’t to get to the finals. The goal was to win it — again.

They get the chance Friday night against Gardendale in the Birmingham CrossPlex’ Bill Harris Arena (6 p.m.). It’s a familiar venue — they beat Southside-Gadsden in the finals there last year.

Cleburne County also is headed to the finals. The Tigers beat St. James on the road 50-28 for a spot in Saturday’s 4 p.m. 1A-5A title match against perennial state power Arab.

“That’s the goal,” Hicks said. “Obviously, we’re elated to be there. We’re not shocked that we’re there. We worked very hard to be there. Other teams did, too, but we felt going into this season that we would have a chance to get back there.

“But like I told the guys in the room, our goal was never to make it back to the state finals. Our goal was to win it.”

And it’s just the second in a four-step road to success. The first was winning the Calhoun County Championship, which they did earlier this month. The third step is the 6A Sectionals and the fourth step is the traditional State Championship in Huntsville.

Oxford earned its spot in a most impressive way, winning 10 of 14 matches. Actually, the lineup strategy Hicks wanted to use was dashed even before the match got started when it was determined the 154-pound division would lead off the match.

Not to worry. The Jackets got it started in a way they like best, winning by pin in each of the first three bouts. They scored seven pins in the match.

Landon Burrage clinched the victory with a pin over Gemir Scott at 120 — with four matches still to go.

Carson Lindsey, Drake Boyles, Matt King pinned in the first three matches. Clay Webb, Chase Hicks and Jakob Chisolm scored the other pins.

“We want to pin,” Hicks said. “I’m just going to tell you. We get ourselves in trouble sometimes when we’re in control of a match because our mentality is — what we preach in the room — is six, six, six, six, bonus points, bonus points; we want to pin everybody we can pin.

“You’ll see a lot of the time we’re kind of unorthodox because we’ll take top a lot. Our mentality is we’re going to work for a pin. That’s what we want to do. We want to end the match.”

Cleburne County reached the 1A-5A final by winning nine matches, seven by pin and two by major decision.

Hicks was excited one of his former teams, coached by one of his former wrestlers, is going for a championship.

“I can’t tell you how proud I am of Rusty (Mayfield) and Jake and that program over there,” he said. “You never want to leave somewhere and then that program just absolutely die, and even though I’ve been gone a long time, to see one of the kids I coached when I was there take up the reins and do his thing (is good to see).

“You heard it hear first: Based on what I can tell, that thing Saturday is going to be closer than what people are anticipating it being. Now, is he going to win? I don’t know, but I will tell you he’s got a solid lineup. My personal opinion I think it’s going to be closer than people think it is. It’s worth the trip to go to Birmingham. I know I am.”

Oxford 51, McAdory 18

152: Carson Lindsey (O) pinned Josh Wesson, 2:51
160: Drake Boyles (P) pinned Jesse Anderson, 1:33
170: Matt King (P) pinned Nick Pate, 1:16
182: Turner Black (M) dec. over Chanceton Holifield, 5-4
195: David Hunter (M) pinned Matthew Muncher, 2:17
220: Kobe Shumaker (O) dec. over Adarius Spencer, 8-3
285: Clay Webb (O) pinned Curtis Weatherspoon, 1:38
106: Kaleb Shelton dec. over Hunter Waldrop, 4-0
113: Chase Hicks (O) pinned LaDonald Phillips, 2:49
120: Landon Burrage (O) pinned Gemir Scott, 5:44
126: Jakob Chisolm (O) pinned R.J. Lawhorn, 1:35
132: Steven Bell (M) def. Wesley Slick, injury default
138: Reed Hill (O) dec. over Keegan Daniels, 5-1
145: Justin Smith (M) dec. over Jackson Hurst, 9-5

Cleburne County 50, St. James 28

Cleburne County 50, St. James 28
106: Anthony Champion (C) pinned Granger Hicks
113: Wes Christie (SJ) pinned Brennen Butler
120: Dylan Turner (C) pinned Tennison Norton
126: Jackson Howard (SJ) maj. dec. over Mathew Williamson, 10-2
132: Shane Beason (C) maj. dec. over Gabe Robbins, 10-2
138: Preston Jarrell (C) maj. dec. over Travis Hamilton, 8-0
145: Zachary Williamson (C) pinned Leland Talbert
152: Trey Gaines (SJ) pinned Christopher Higgins
160: Jake Rice (SJ) pinned Kyler Moore
170: Jason Higgins (C) pinned Mitch Mathews
182: Cade Smith (C) pinned Mac Johnson
195: Christian Seale (C) pinned Alex Oreliana
220: Ryan Day (C) pinned Jake Prickett
285: Mitchell Wilson (SJ) won by forfeit


Thompson 41, Central-Phenix City 25
Bob Jones 37, Vestavia Hills 25
Oxford 51, McAdory 18
Gardendale 45, Clay-Chalkville 20
Cleburne County 50, Saint James 28
Arab 52, Mortimer Jordan 20

(Bill Harris Arena, Birmingham CrossPlex)
Class 6A: Oxford vs. Gardendale, Friday, 6 p.m.
Class 7A: Thompson vs. Bob Jones, Saturday, 1 p.m.
Class 1A-5A: Cleburne County vs. Arab, Saturday, 4 p.m.

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