E.A. Sports Today

Wins with an assist

Weaver wins Gene Taylor Memorial Tournament for second year in a row with a little help from its friends

Weaver’s Anthony Usry has control over Ohatchee’s Cody Freer in their 180 title match in the Gene Taylor Memorial Tournament Saturday. Usry’s third-period pin gave the Bearcats enough points to win the tournament. (Photo by Jimmy Smith)

By Al Muskewitz
East Alabama Sports Today

WEAVER – Andy Fulmer and the Weaver wrestling team have always had a ton of respect for Ranburne heavyweight Carson Hall, but they had even more reason to pull for the Bulldogs senior Saturday.

If Hall beat Ashville’s Mason Wilson in the last match of the night involving any of the contenders, Weaver would secure the Gene Taylor Memorial Tournament title for the second year in a row.

Weaver’s Anthony Usry hoists teammate J.D. Johannson on his shoulders after Johannson was named most valuable wrestler at the Gene Taylor Memorial Tournament. (Photo by Jimmy Smith)

Not only did Hall win to extend his own consecutive wins streak, he did the Bearcats a solid by pinning Wilson in 2:32 to close out the team race.

Weaver, the state’s No. 1 team in 1A-4A, scored 165.5 points and won its own tournament by 4.5 points over No. 2 Ashville. No. 3 Ohatchee (147) was third. Hall’s Bulldogs were a solid fourth. Weaver’s J.D. Johannson (170) won the championship belt as the tournament’s most valuable wrestler.

“It’s a lot like the feeling we had last year in Huntsville (at the state tournament),” Fulmer said. “We had to have Ohatchee to win, but they couldn’t win by more than a decision; as long it was not a pin or anything like that, we were OK.

“When you compete, that’s part of it. You’ve got to have a little bit of help, just like we had last year at the state tournament. It’s good that it worked out for us today, so that’s a positive.”

The team race went back and forth throughout the second half of the championship session. Weaver went into it with a 6.5-point lead over Ashville and held it through the first seven finals. But the Bulldogs pulled ahead just like that with Tyler Ebner’s pin in the 152 title match and a pin in the 145 consolation final on the adjacent mat.

Johannson put the Bearcats back in front with a pin in the 170 final. They fell off the top rope when Ashville won a decision in the 160 consy, but retook the lead on Anthony Usry’s third-period pin in the 182 final. Usry’s match with Ohatchee’s Cody Freer was 0-0 going into the third.

“Every match is very different from all the others, but when I go out there, I try to wrestle for myself, but more importantly I try to wrestle for my team because at the end of the day I’d rather get team hardware than personal hardware,” Usry said. “When I get in certain positions out there and it’s not looking good, I just know if I keep wrestling and wrestle as hard as I can eventually good things will happen.

“I knew were neck-and-neck going into my match and I knew I would have to give a little bit more than what was needed to help our team win.”

The Bearcats had a chance to put it away in the next two matches, but were pinned in both. That left it up to the Hall-Wilson heavyweight match and out of their control.

“Obviously we want to win our tournament, but at the end of the day if it turned out the other way it just wasn’t meant to be,” Fulmer said.

It turned out their way as Hall took care of business in the second period.

“We’ve known Carson for a long time and he’s always been king of that heavyweight spot,” Johannson said. “We know (Wilson) is a really good wrestler, but he wasn’t going to beat Carson, so I had confidence.”

The big prize of the day belonged to Johannson. The undefeated senior was named most valuable wrestler after pinning his four opponents in a total of 6 minutes, 50 seconds. His first three matches didn’t make it out of the first period and his middle two pins a total of 47 seconds.

He now has a championship belt to go with the one his sister Lena won the week before as MVW of the Ms. Wil Girls Tournament at Saks.

“I’m really humbled to receive that, because it’s more than you just won the tournament,” he said. “We invited all the teams in the region, it just represents them, so I’m happy to get it.”

Team scores: Weaver 165.5, Ashville 161, Ohatchee 147, Ranburne 127, Corner 108, Deshler 102, Alexandria 99, Saks 92, Cleburne County 85, St. John Paul II 85, Prattville Christian 82.5, Madison County 73.5, Oak Grove 72.5, Wellborn 62, St. James 61, Piedmont 36, ASB 23, J.B. Pennington 8, West End 6.

106: David Hill (Oak Grove) pinned Dalton Fink (Weaver), 1:51
113: Briley Carter (Ohatchee) pinned Hunter Hulsey (Ranburne), 4:36
120: Devin Pennington (Deshler) pinned Trent Hopkins, 5:13
126: Preston Jones (Alexandria) pinned Truth Thurman (Saks), 1:25
132: Logan Hartson (St. James) dec. Julian Lowe (St. John Paul II), 6-4
138: Austen Mayfield (Cleburne County) pinned Gavin Hare (Ashville), 0:58
145: Brody Pugh (Prattville Christian) pinned Jack Von Eschenbach (St. John Paul II), 2:27
152: Tyler Ebner (Ashville) pinned Matthew King (Ohatchee), 5:07
160: Devon Jeffreys (Deshler) maj. dec. John Bussey (Saks), 15-1
170: J.D. Johannson (Weaver) pinned Matthew Briscoe (Corner), 4:24
182: Anthony Usry (Weaver) pinned Cody Freer (Ohatchee), 5:21
195: Mason Ellis (Madison County) pinned Brandon Joliff (Weaver), 1:43
220: Tristin Kiker (Ohatchee) pinned Hayden Ransom (Weaver), 0:48
285: Carson Hall (Ranburne) pinned Mason Wilson (Ashville), 2:32

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