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Toombs Co Wrestlers Dominate Area Tournament
Monday, 03 February 2014

February 3--


The Toombs County wrestling team won the Area 1 AA tournament in dominating fashion by out distancing second place Jeff Davis by a whopping 115.5 points.  Toombs won the tournament with 274 points.  Jeff Davis had 158.5 points.  Fitzgerald was third with 157 points and East Laurens and Vidalia tied for fourth with 139.5 points.

Toombs County put twelve out of fourteen wrestlers into the semis on day one of the two day tournament to open up a commanding lead.  The Mat Dogs followed up day one with another impressive day of wrestling on day two.  Eight of the twelve semi-finalists won their matches to get into the Area finals.  The Championship round went even better for the Mat Dogs as seven of the eight won to become Area Champs.  No other team in the Area had over one champion.

Area Champions for the Bulldogs were:  J.J. Arredondo (106 lbs.) who defeated Brantley from Benedictine by pin.  Rafael Florez (113 lbs.) defeated Ross from MCA in the finals.  Solomon McLeod (152 lbs.) defeated Perez from Cook County, who was 43-1 coming into the finals.  Erion Gaffney (182 lbs.) defeated Devin Johnson from Vidalia by pin in a much anticipated rematch from the week before.  J. D. Rogers (195 lbs.) defeated Daniel Copeland from Vidalia by pin.  Jamar Smith (220 lbs.) pinned Harper from Jeff Davis.  Eric Hester (285 lbs.) pinned Smith from East Laurens to end an incredible four match streak of pins by the Mat Dogs.  Placers who will be moving on to the Sectionals are Manny Hernandez (120 lbs.) placed fourth, Nathan Belch (138 lbs.) placed second, Noah Moore (160 lbs.) won fourth, and Jose Delgado (170 lbs.) placed third.  Other placers for Toombs County were Rashawn McLeod (126 lbs.) and Chase Corbin (145 lbs.)

Coach Bradley Benton talked about the hosting the Area tournament and the win:  “First of all, I would like to thank the Lord that the injured wrestler from Berrien County is okay and has been released from the hospital.  We had many people at the tournament and in the community praying for him after he was air lifted to Savannah.”  Benton went on to say, “Wow, what a weekend.  I can’t say enough about our young men.  They have pushed themselves to the limit all year and it all came together in this tournament.  I am so thankful that they are wrestling their best at this time of the year.  We seemed to get stronger as the tournament went on.  We had a great first day and I was just praying that we would follow it up with a great effort on Saturday.  I actually think Saturday was better, to get eight to the finals and have seven champs was a great day.”

“I thought the atmosphere in the gym was electric during the finals.  I am so proud our fans came out and supported our wrestlers on Saturday.  J.J. and Rafael got us going by winning the first two matches in the finals; Solomon beat a great wrestler to give us a win in the middle.  What can I say about the run at the end of the tournament?  Those four heavy hitters always challenge each other and what they did in the final four matches was amazing.  Everyone in the building was anticipating Erion and Devin’s match at 182 lbs.  Those two have been going at it all year and everyone knew it would be a great match.  All they do is make each other better.  I think when Erion won with a pin, it lit a fire under the next three and to have them pin out and do it so quickly was unbelievable.”

“It will take this kind of effort the next two weeks if we are to reach our goal of a state championship.  We will go to Dublin Saturday for the Sectionals.  No team points will be kept, so our focus will be on getting all eleven wrestlers in the top four so they can advance to the state tournament at Gwinnett the next week.  We want to encourage all our fans and supporters to follow us the next two weeks.  Our guys responded to your support this weekend and we would love to have that kind of support in Dublin.”


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