It was a battle of the heavyweights, in every sense of the word.
In a match between two of the top wrestlers on two of the top teams in the state, Jesse Rowlen, Tallassee’s No. 1 heavyweight in 1A-4A, defeated St. James’ No. 3 Brad Murry 2-0 in the final match of the night. However, the win made the score 39-39, and the Trojans (19-3) defeated the Tigers (32-6) in a pin-count tiebreaker.
St. James came out unscathed in the tri-match at Tallassee against the Tigers and Central-Phenix City. Tallassee split matches, and the Red Devils went 0-2 to fall to 14-15 on the season.
Rowlen improved to 32-0 on the season but wasn’t satisfied with the outcome.
“It’s always fun to have the pressure on you and trying to come through,” Rowlen said. “It makes me nervous. With sectionals coming up, we should be beating St. James.”
The Trojans only showed up with eight wrestlers to fill the 14 weight classes. The six forfeits gave the Tigers 36 free points. However, the wrestlers that did show up dominated, getting pins in five of the matches.
“That was a good one,” St. James coach Craig Duncan said. “That’s the kind of night you like to have, when the heavyweights go for the win of the match. That’s when it gets exciting.”
St. James’ Coleman Adams, the top 145-pounder in the state, was able to capitalize on a Braxton Bryant mistake late in the second period to get the pin. Stephen Kwan and Matt Murray, No. 2 at 126 pounds and 132 pounds, respectively, got pins in the second round for the Trojans. No. 3 220-pounder Arthur Frawley was able to pin Alton Vicks early in the second period to give the Trojans a 39-36 lead heading into the heavyweight match.
“Hats off to them,” Tallassee coach John Mask said. “Duncan’s got a great team. He came out tonight and got it done. We’ve got to get back to work. I would’ve like to win some of those matches, but it was pretty much what we expected.”
St. James defeated Central-Phenix City 44-36 in their first match. All 36 of the Red Devils’ points came by forfeit. Tallassee defeated the Red Devils 48-24 in the opening match. Kennon Reese, Tallassee’s No. 1 ranked 120-pounder, pinned Central’s Lee Martin in less than a minute. Josh Epperson, the top 126-pounder in the state, didn’t wrestle for the Tigers but will return this weekend for the Barry Mask tournament in Wetumpka, where he will face No. 2 Kwan.