E.A. Sports Today

That was close

Oxford’s Hicks survives opponent’s last-second move and referees’ conference to win his first state title by the slimmest of margins
By Al Muskewitz
East Alabama Sports Today
HUNTSVILLE – For about 45 agonizing seconds Saturday, Chase Hicks’ first state wrestling belt was twisting in the wind. But his confidence never wavered.
The Oxford junior appeared to have won a 1-0 decision over Russ Boackle in the Class 6A 152 final, but the result was on hold as referees conferred conferring on a last-second move that, depending on the verdict, could have given the Gardendale senior the title and denied Hicks for the second time in his career.
Just as time was expiring Boackle whipped off the bottom and appeared to have scored a reversal to win or at least an escape to force overtime. After a delay, during which the Gardendale coaches were campaigning for the reversal with two fingers in the air, the referees decided there was no point and Hicks had his championship.
“We were thinking he got a reversal there … but I still had control,” Hicks said. “I was still under him and had it, so I didn’t think it was going to get overturned, so I was still fine. If it would’ve gotten overturned I felt the most they would’ve gave him is an escape and I feel like I could still be going in overtime.”
Oxford coach Kyle Routon wasn’t worried, either.
“The way I saw it is he tried to roll through, we had a claw and we still had our hand on the inside,” Routon said. “He tried to roll through a Granby. There was only three seconds left on the clock so whenever the whistle blew it stopped the action and it stopped the action with him not really on top of us but in an almost like a loss of control situation, but how that situation plays out 99 percent of the time in wrestling is whenever you have that claw ride and somebody rolls through whenever you discontinue wrestling everything just rolls through. You still end up on top. The whistle stopped the action and it made it look questionable, but they made the right call.”

Shortly after coming off the mat Hicks got a big bear hug from former Oxford coach Matt Hicks.
Boackle’s move came at the last possible moment. The wrestlers reset with three seconds left. All Hicks had to do with that little time was stay in control, the wrestling equivalent of fouling a 3-point basketball shooter with a two-point lead, and he’d win by the slimmest of margins with no discussion. Then Boackle struck.
“With three seconds left I figured the only thing he could have done right there is rolled,” Hicks said. “He rolled and I just tried to stop it. I figured it was coming because he hadn’t tried to stand up the whole match.”
Boackle took the outcome in stride.
“The definition of losing control on top is when the top man goes on his back,” he said after coming off the awards stand. “He’s on his back, he didn’t have control of me at all. It should have been one. I don’t think it should have been a reversal, but it should it have gone to overtime. 
“But I shouldn’t have put it in the officials’ hands and that’s that. I should’ve worked harder in the first and second period and not put it in the refs’ hands.” 
It was a tight match throughout with Hicks picking up the only point of the match in the second period. With things that tight there was no margin for error.
“You’ve just got to keep calm and keep doing what you’ve been taught,” Hicks said. “I just didn’t get worried. I didn’t try to do something I didn’t know about. I just tried to stay in good position and not give nothing up.”
Hicks (54-8), the No. 4 seed out of the North Section, won four matches in the tournament against wrestlers of varying styles giving up 10-20 pounds a bout. He had a pin, a tech fall over the top seed from the South and two tight decisions. The formula he overcame likely earned him some consideration as outstanding wrestler of the 6A tournament.
“Chase is a really smart wrestler,” Routon said. “He has so much knowledge of wrestling. I’m not going to say he is just absolutely great at one thing, but he’s really good at a lot of things so he can match up and wrestle with kids who have all these completely different styles.
“You’ll see a lot of times where a certain matchup will lock down a kid because it takes away the one or two things he’s really good at. The great thing about Chase is he can wrestle so many different ways. He wrestled four matches this weekend, two of them he wrestled the same because they were similar kids and the way he wrestled (Saxon) Coker was just completely different from those two and the way he wrestled Boackle was completely different than the other two styles and he found a way to win it all.”

Hicks was one of three Oxford wrestlers who made it through to the championship round, but the only one to win.
Jakob Chisolm, a two-time state champion and four-time finalist, was leading 9-0 in the third period of his 138 final when McAdory’s Donald Phillips struck like a cobra, flipping the script and pinning the Oxford junior in 4:37, handing him his first loss of the season. Reed Hill, last year’s 152 champion, lost 2-0 in the 160 final when Spanish Fort’s Jake Snow scored a takedown 39 seconds into overtime.
The Yellow Jackets finished third as a team in Class 6A, behind champion Gardendale and Benjamin Russell. 

106: Peter Henderson, McAdory (74-1) dec. Sandlin Pike, Benjamin Russell (41-12), 6-0.
113: Isaiah Powe, Gardendale (50-2) over Tyrique Simms, Mae Jemison (48-8), forfeit.
120: Lincoln Bryant, Hartselle (42-9) dec. Melton Powe, Gardendale (19-2), 10-5.
126: Michael Moran, Helena (54-8) tech fall over Brody Scoggins, Gardendale (34-21), 15-0 (5:06).
132: Gabe Warren, Spanish Fort (61-3) dec. Bryce Wanagat, Pelham (43-5), 15-11.
138: Donald Phillips, McAdory (74-9) pinned Jakob Chisolm, Oxford (22-1), 4:37.
145: Brandon Seawright, Minor (46-1) maj. dec. over Seth Branham, Pelham (25-8), 18-4.
152: Chase Hicks, Oxford (54-8) dec. Russ Boackle, Gardendale (46-8), 1-0.
160: Jake Snow, Spanish Fort (61-3) dec. Reed Hill, Oxford (56-3), SV-1 2-0.
170: John Paul Uter, Gulf Shores (66-4) dec. Hezekiah Hunter, Benjamin Russell (59-8), SV-1 7-5.
182: Mason Blackwell, Wetumpka (63-2) pinned John-Mark Crocker, Homewood (25-4), 1:42.
195: Noah Bauer, Spanish Fort (59-4) dec. Drake Ewing, Gulf Shores (34-12), 3-2.
220: Nathan Dunaway, Helena (46-0) pinned Riley Kuhn, Fort Payne (32-4), 0:48.
285: Michael Dawson, Opelika (51-0) pinned Izziah Williams, Clay-Chalkville (44-7), 3:48.

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