E.A. Sports Today

What a thrashing

Ohatchee throttles defending champion Cleburne County to reach 1A-4A Duals semifinals; Thrash clinches match in dramatic fashion

Joe Lathers (second from left), technical advisor to the Ohatchee wrestling team, leads the celebration Thursday night as the Indians clinched their State Duals quarterfinals match over Cleburne County.

At Piedmont
Ohatchee 45, Piedmont 32
Cleburne County 45, Weaver 31
Ohatchee 51, Cleburne County 30

By Al Muskewitz
East Alabama Sports Today

PIEDMONT – Chris Findley gathered his Ohatchee wrestling team in a far corner of the gym to do a quick post-mortem on arguably the biggest duals match victory in program history.

Just as the coach was getting to the good part of his message, Brock Thrash suddenly bolted away the pack and out the nearest door to – how do you say this delicately  expend some victory chunks.

Talk about leaving it all on the mat.

The fifth-ranked Indians had just taken down No. 6 Cleburne County 51-30 Thursday night to reach the State Duals Class 1A-4A semifinals. Thrash, just back on the mat after a week of COVID quarantine and admittedly “a little out of shape,” scored a dramatic, last-second 9-8 victory at 222 to lock up the match with incredibly five bouts still on the card.

The Indians stunned the defending state Duals champions with seven straight pins after the opening bout to build a big lead. Thrash’s job was simply not to get pinned and the Indians had it won. Even with a loss by decision victory was assured.

The senior did it one better. He came from behind with a dramatic escape and reversal in the final three seconds to win his match against second-ranked Russell Clanton and leave no doubt that the Indians were going to advance.

“I always go out there to win,” Thrash said. “He got real high on my hips and I just bucked it off him and slid it over and got my two.

“I knew I had to win, or I had to not get pinned, and that’s what I went out to do. I went out to wrestle for the win.”

Fittingly, perhaps, the road leading to the gym where Thrash and Co. won was Brock Street.

Gavin Hall (140), Malachi Goble (147), Deacon Engle (154), Matthew King (162), James Howard (172), Cody Freer (184) and Troy Galloway (197) scored consecutive pins for the Indians before getting to Thrash.

“The guys wrestled their tails off,” Findley said. “We won some of the matchups we knew we had to win. There were a couple in there that we expected, that we were counting on – we’ve got some solid guys in that stretch of weight classes – but we got a couple there that we really needed to have if we really thought we were going to beat them.”

Hall, Howard and Thrash delivered the match’s biggest wins.

“We have been preaching all week that hard work pays off,” Indians technical advisor Joe Lathers said. “Everything they get is earned, nothing is given to them, and if they wanted it tonight then they were going to have to earn it. Me and Coach Findley couldn’t give it to them, they had to earn it themselves.

“That was the message that we preached to the team. I told them if each individual does their part to help contribute then we’ll be successful as a team and they did exactly as we asked them to do. They have bought in to what we have sold them.”

The Indians, who’ve never won a match in the Duals Tournament before this year, will meet the survivor of the other side of the bracket – Deshler, St. John Paul II, Cherokee County and New Hope – Tuesday for a trip to the title match Feb. 21 in Birmingham’s Bill Harris Arena.

“Nobody expected Ohatchee to go anywhere,” Thrash said. “I’m just glad we can make it.”

Both quarterfinalists survived late challenges to earn their spots in the match. 

The Indians bounced No. 4 host Piedmont, 45-32 and Cleburne County earned its spot by taking down No. 1 Weaver, 45-31.

Weaver rallied from an early 21-0 deficit and down 11 with four matches to go to draw within 33-31 before the Tigers’ top-ranked Shamar Heard sealed it with a pin at 113. 

Piedmont rallied from a 33-6 hole to get within 33-32 before Ohatchee’s Briley Carter scored a pin at 113 to clinch that match.

134: Zachary Scott (CC) pinned Hayden Ford, 2:10
140: Gavin Hall (O) pinned Ronin Brower, 3:12
147: Malachi Goble (O) pinned Brennen Butler, 2:45
154: Deacon Engle (O) pinned Rex Ray, 4:34
162: Matthew King (O) pinned Jacob Jimenez, 4:45
172: James Howard (O) pinned Colton Mayfield, 2:21
184: Cody Freer (O) pinned Bryton Clay, 1:17
197: Troy Galloway (O) pinned Will Johnson, 1:01
222: Brock Thrash (O) dec. Russell Clanton, 9-8
287: Trey Brown (CC) won by forfeit
108: Briley Carter (O) pinned Josh Silva, 1:18
115: Jackson Letson (CC) pinned Coleman Caldwell, 1:12
122: Shamar Heard (CC) pinned Kasin Bramlett, 1:59
128: Austen Mayfield (CC) pinned Zane Calhoun, 0:46

128: Zane Calhoun (O) pinned Izak Duke, 5:18
134: Caleb Tidwell (P) pinned Hayden Ford, 0:17
140: Gavin Hall (O) pinned Michael Pope, 1:18
147: Malachi Goble (O) pinned Kipper Williams, 1:09
154: Deacon Engle (O) dec. Hunter Bagley, 10-8
162: Matthew King (O) pinned Bentley Chandler, 3:37
172: James Howard (O) pinned Austin Estes, 1:26
184: Brayden Morgan (P) tech fall over Cody Freer, 19-0
197: Blake Fortenberry (P) pinned Gus Howard, 1:40
222: Jalon Helm (P) def. Troy Galloway, injury default (2:27)
287: John Gurley (P) pinned Brock Thrash, 1:51
108: Christian Melendez (P) dec. Coleman Caldwell, 7-6
115: Briley Carter (O) pinned Jaiden Melendez, 3:00
122: Kasin Bramlett (O) won by forfeit

128: Austen Mayfield (CC) pinned Kaden Gaines, 1:32
134: Zachary Scott (CC) pinned Gianluca Torres, 2:55
140: Ronin Brower (CC) dec. Lena Johannson, 4-2
147: Brennen Butler (CC) pinned Hunter Hise, 1:45
154: Brilley Carter (W) maj. dec. over Rex Ray, 15-5
162: Joshua Johannson (W) pinned Jacob Jimenez, 1:45
172: Anthony Usry (W) pinned Colton Mayfield, 1:29
184: Bryton Clay (CC) pinned Richard Knowlton, 3:48
197: Devin Anderson (W) pinned Will Johnson, 0:16
222: Russell Clanton (CC) pinned Brandon Jolliff, 2:42
287: Cameron Thornton (W) dec. Trey Brown, 5-4
108: Dalton Fink (W) pinned Josh Silva, 0:47
115: Shamar Heard (CC) pinned Le’o Mondragon, 3:47
122: Bronson Bell (CC) pinned Quinn Sani, 1:20

Ohatchee’s Cody Freer gets a pat on the back from teammate James Howard after winning his 187-pound match as part of seven straight pins to take control of their match with Cleburne County.

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