Patriots fall in epic battle
A wrestling match couldn’t be much tighter than the one hosted Wednesday by the Patriots.
The match featured a pair of Top 10 teams as Fort Dorchester entered ranked 10th among Class AAAA teams in the state and Lugoff-Elgin entered ranked eighth.
The Demons won a decision in the final individual match of the evening to score the three team points they needed to force a 33-33 tie.
Officials sorted through the tiebreaker criteria and eight tiebreakers were needed before a winner could be determined. Lugoff-Elgin edged out the Fort on the eighth criteria, finishing with 14 first match points scored to the Patriots’ 13 to walk away with a 34-33 victory.
“Both teams wrestled hard,” Fort Dorchester coach B.D. LaPrad said. “We had opportunities that we didn’t take advantage of, but so did they. Lugoff-Elgin is one of the best teams in the state and tonight we didn’t get it done and they did.”
The Patriots are off to a 3-7 start this season, which is not what Fort Dorchester fans are used to. However, LaPrad has coached wrestling for 35 years and has never had a losing season. He is cautiously optimistic about this year’s prospects.
“We have a lot of improvement to make,” he said. “There are things we have to get better at to get where we want to be. But I think we can get those things fixed because we have a good group of kids who will work hard.”
Five individual matches were won by decisions of three points or less.
Wrestling started in the 160-pound weight class with Fort Dorchester’s Cato Jenkins earning a 7-2 decision. Then Jacob Hutchinson pinned his opponent at 170 for a 9-0 Fort lead.
The Demons responded with three straight pins by Jerelle Hanna (182), Wade Branham (195) and Allen Jenerette (220) that came in the first, third and second periods respectively.
Tyese MacDonald earned a first-round pin in the heavyweight division to cut the Demons’ lead to 18-15.
The 106-pound match was one of the better bouts of the evening. Fort Dorchester’s Dominic Leamardi fell behind in the first period but went up 10-9 in the second. Lugoff-Elgin’s Evan McDonald battled and it was looking like the bout was headed into overtime but McDonald scored with an escape in the final five seconds to earn a 15-13 decision.
The teams then swapped pins as Tyree Wright took the 113-pound match and Lugoff-Elgin’s Chris Jackson took the 120-pound match for a 27-21 Demon lead with five bouts remaining.
Trevor Johnson won an 8-2 decision at 126 to pull the Fort within three points of the Demons.
At 132, Fort Dorchester’s Dallas Brown fell behind 3-0, but nearly came back to win. He scored early in the third period and had his opponent in position for a pin but Khalil Cooke held on until the buzzer for a 3-2 Lugoff-Elgin decision.
The Demons were looking to put the match away as Justin Miskin jumped out to a lead at 138, but Fort Dorchester’s Charles Washington rallied in the third period and earned an 8-7 decision with a pair of late takedowns.
Logan Encarnacion earned a third-period pin at 145 for a 33-30 Fort lead so the match was riding on the final bout between the Fort’s Austin Ziliak and Lugoff-Elgin’s Harrison Kruger.
After the wrestlers worked their way out of bounds in the second period, Ziliak broke a stalemate when Kruger chose to forfeit a point so he could start from a neutral position. Then Kruger took a 3-2 lead en route to a 5-2 decision that took the score to 33-33.