The Jefferson Dragons Finish Strong with the Nail-Biting Win Against the North Hall Trojans

On Thursday January 17th 2019 The Jefferson High School Wrestling team set out for yet another state title at the State Duals in Macon, GA. Jefferson had won State Duals 17 straight years since 2001. This year was said to be the hardest one yet. Every year to this point has been a battle and in the finals there are 2 dominant teams Jefferson being the team predicted to win every time. This year was different, Jefferson had moved down to 3-A and had multiple teams wanting to end their streak this year in Macon. Every year a team wants to take down the dragons but no team has done it yet. This year a few teams had the talent to end the winning streak, especially North Hall (seeded 1st) and Sonoraville (seeded 3rd). Sonoraville had won Traditional state last year at 3-A, having 7 state placers and 3 state champions last year, it wasn't going to be an easy match for Jefferson Wrestling if they got there. North Hall is said to have an even better team sitting at first seed. The Trojans had already beat The dragons earlier on that year 42-20 at Pigeon Forge, Tennessee at the 2018 Smoky Mountain High School Duals. This wasn't going to be a cake walk. Thursday the Dragons faced (Central Macon) who had already beaten (Benedictine Military School) 53-24 earlier that day. The dragons were predicted to win without a dought, but no team is to be taken lightly at this level. The dragons wrestled hard and won their first match of the Dual State tournament winning (78-6). Every match wrestled by the dragons ended up with a pin except for one match, but every wrestler looked hungry and ready for the two teams up ahead. On Friday January 18th 2019, Jefferson had faced the number 3 seed at 3-A. Starting off at 170 was Ryan Hurd. Hurd was a state placer last year and has improved much since then. Hurd started the match off right with a win against Jebb Knight ending 6-4. The dragons were up 3-0, but had many more matches that were crucial. Corbett, Berlin, Phatorus, and London all had matches that evened out in score. Dragons were still ahead 3 and had to get a solid lead. Going from heaviest to lightest, Jefferson's 106 was up and ready for a good match. Mingus had wrestled and finished the match 3-0 giving the Dragons 3 more points. The dragons got 6 points, then Sonoraville  got 6 points. Jefferson up by 6, but that could change any second. Every match after that was insanely close back and forth every time, but the weight class of 132 stood out. Ian Statia had a nail biting 3 periods and was ahead the whole match. It was 3-2 going into the third (make sure on that) and Statia had managed to keep the score 3-2 until his hand was raised. The score was now 27-18 the Dragons were up. There were 2 more intense matches and the score was now 30-24 before Avery Nelms was up to wrestle. The dragons had the match secured unless they were to give up 6 points. Avery Nelms managed to beat the opponent 11-4 after the third period. The final score of the Dual was Jefferson 33, Sonoraville 24. A close match, but the dragons take the victory and are headed to face the number one seed, the North Hall Trojans. 

The Trojans had beat Jackson county 43-18 to advance to the finals. They were wrestling at the same time right next to the dragons, so they knew they would have Jefferson in the finals.

The next day was not only going to be a battle, but a war.  The Trojans were predicted to win without a dought. Any team can be beaten on any given day, but with the dragons being the underdogs a win would surprise almost anyone.

The match started at the weight class of 182, starting with Mason Corbett on the dragons. Corbett was about 2 minutes into the match before he had accidentally broke the opponents arm. The opponent couldn't continue giving the dragons 6 points to start off. Every match after this was going to be down to the wire every time, but the dragons had a goal, and one goal only, to beat the Trojans. The score was 9-6 Trojans and Gavin London was up to wrestle. He had already lost to the other kid once this year, but it was going to be another close match. It was back and forth scoring. Gavin had gotten taken down and the match was 2-0 after the first period. Gavin managed to get 2 more points going into the third. The score was tied 2-2. London was on top and the opponent had managed to escape. It was 3-2, third period, London was running out of time. There were 20 seconds left and both wrestlers were as tired as could be. London shoots with 10 seconds and manages to get a leg. There are 7 seconds left and both wrestlers are scrambling. London gets around for 2 with seconds to spare! The match ends 4-3 and Jefferson goes wild with the win. It was tied 9-9 and all of the matches were going back and forth, they got one point we got one point. They won a match we won a match. It was a tight race and every wrestler was dead tired after they had wrestled. The score was 16-9 Trojans and Jared Blackburn was up to wrestle at 120. Jefferson needed 6 points. Blackburn is aggressive off the start getting an early lead, but the goal was a pin. Blackburn was doing multiple moves on top, but the opponent wasn't doing much. He sat on bottom not working anything. Before you knew it he was hit with 2 stalling calls giving Blackburn an extra point. Blackburn constantly worked moves and the other kid didn't do anything. He was hit with 2 more stalling calls giving Blackburn 3 more points. One more stalling call and the match is over. By rule 5 stalling calls and the opposing team gets 6 points. It would be the same as a pin. There were 40 seconds left and Blackburn was constantly working his moves when the ref hit the opponent with his 5th stalling call! The match was over and Jefferson was given 6 points. It was now 16-15 and not a soul in the building wasn't glancing at the North Hall/Jefferson match. The battle continues, North hall gets a pin and a major, then Jefferson gets a major. It is 26-19 and there are a handful of matches left. Jake brown comes up big with a 12-2 win changing the score from 26-19 to 26-23. It doesn't get closer than this. Sorrow was up and ready to wrestle, he had lost to the opponent once this year, but was ready to get revenge. He came out quick and aggressive. After a nail-biting match Sorrow ended up winning 8-4 tying the team score. 26-26 with two matches left. Hunter Adams from North Hall manages to get 3 points for his team. It is 29-26, Jefferson needs 4 points to win. Ryan Hurd from Jefferson is the only wrestler left who can change the match. To secure the win he must get a major (or win by 8 or more points). Hurd comes out quick and manages to get a take down and stays on top for the whole first period making the score 2-0. Hurd gets a second take down in the second period and also gets 2 back points making the score 6-0 going into the third. Hurd needs atleast 2 more points and must keep the other wrestler from scoring. The third period comes and he continues to dominate in neutral and on top. It is now 10-0 with 25 seconds left in the match. The opponent gets hit for stalling and it is now 11-0, Hurd. He must keep the difference of the score 8 or greater. He's on top and it seems like there is no hope left for North Hall. 15 seconds left and Hurd is riding the opponent out, the fans are starting to realize a win for the dragons is near. Hurd manages to keep the score 11-0 and defeats his opponent giving the team 4 points for the major. The team score is now 30-29 Jefferson and the crowd is going wild. Everyone in the Macon complex was watching the match. The Jefferson wrestlers celebrate after shaking hands and Coach Doug Thurmond secures his 18th straight Dual State championship. As the underdogs for the first time in 18 years the Jefferson Dragons defeat Central Macon, Sonoraville, and North Hall and manage to come out of Macon keeping the winning streak alive. The Jefferson Dragons wrestling program will go down in history.

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