FLEMING ISLAND - Clay High got back-to-back dramatic finishes; a third period pin from Thomas Viens and a takedown with just 12 seconds on the clock from Luke Boree to steal away the Tussle of Muscle …
FLEMING ISLAND - Clay High got back-to-back dramatic finishes; a third period pin from Thomas Viens and a takedown with just 12 seconds on the clock from Luca Boree to steal away the Tussle of Muscle wresting title from Fleming Island in yet another wrestlefest classic between the two wrestling programs.
“I’ve been waiting a long time for this win,” said Boree, who faced off against Fleming Island senior Garrett Cole. “He has beat me a few times and it’s always been tough matches.”
Boree’s win was off a 1-1 tie through the second quarter with both wrestlers scoring on escapes before Boree scored the two-point takedown as the loud and boisterous crowd sensed an overtime session to end the match.
“We talked all week to them about just competing,” said Clay coach Jim Reape. “We had a tough weekend with the Clay Rotary (Clay won) then wanted to keep them mentally sharp for tonight. We just wanted to battle them because Fleming Island is the standard of excellence as a top big school program.”
Reape’s query for “competing” was not lost on the penultimate match of the night as Viens, at 132, turned a 7-0 apparent major decision coming to Fleming Island’s Xavier Logan into a cradled pin with a minute left in the period.
“I was holding on for dear life because he was breaking my grip underneath,” said Viens, who recently signed a college scholarship to ..... “He had me twice in near fall and I wiggled away. I just kept hearing coach Reape yelling ‘compete, compete’” while I was under him.”
Viens pin jettisoned a 23-30 gap with Fleming Island ramping up the score with pins from Joe Forte, at 106 over Caleb Thompson, an overtime win 7-5 from Hunter Herrington over Maverick Rainwater in a match highlight by two top ranked players in their respective classes and Riley Holton taking down Chandler Thomas 9-2 at 126. Dalton Huckleberry, Clay’s 120, upset the table run with a pin of Ethan Myers to set up the Viens and Boree finish.
Opening at 145, Clay’s Josh Kumpf broke open a tight 5-4 first period against Matthew Kotler, who scored a near fall in the fracas, to rattle off a 6-1 spree to set the tone of the night.
“That first match was going to do just that,” said Reape. “Josh has been strong for us, but their guy was tall and that was going to present some challenges. Josh did a good job to wrestle his own match and take the points as they came.”
At 152, Fleming Island came back with David Parkes showing some mat flair against Dominic Martin in a high-flying showdown that Parkes won 10-2.
At 160, Clay’s Cale Hoskinson faced off a reduced-size Joshua Sandoval and took a quick 2-0 first period to pin with just eight seconds to go.
Fleming Island was notably missing senior Gavin Smith at 170 with a broken leg bone after the Flagler Rotary.
Up 9-4, Clay was prepping for a Fleming Island surge with Jhoel Robinson, at 170, facing off against Luka Fiannaca. Fiannaca proved relentless in avoiding Robinson athleticism of the matt and survived without a pin, but just a 19-4 tech fall with Robinson being admonished at the match’s end for some rough elbow grinding on Fiannaca’s head.
“Fleming Island always wrestles tough and we knew it would get rough,” said Reape. “We told them to keep cool on the mat.”
A forfeit to Ethan Larsen at 182 kept Clay up 15-9, but the lead evaporated with Hunter Williams pinning Kedtrick Wilbon to tie the score back at 15-15.
Then the fireworks started at 220 as Clay’s Garrett Tyre and Fleming Island’s Grant Travis tangoed with some bumping and grinding leading to blood and hostilities with Travis, in the end, winning a 4-2 match that precipitated a Tyre outburst that nearly emptied the benches to center matt a.k.a. World Wide Wrestling. The incident cost Clay one team point.
At 285, where Fleming Island was missing Raul Gonzales with a knee injury, Ethan Hofstetter went toe-to-toe with Clay’s Ethan Daniels in a battle of behemoths that Daniels emerged out with an overtime 3-2 win.
With the score precariously sitting at 18-17 for Fleming Island, Clay’s bench was sensing a momentum shift after Daniels’ win, but Fleming Island ripped that up Forte and Herrington putting Fleming Island up 27-17 in what looked like a final flurry to the expected blowout.
Herrington’s overtime win came with a takedown with just 20 seconds to go in the one minute overtime session.
At 120, Dalton Huckleberry went to a swift pin over Ethan Meyers, 17 seconds left in first period, to keep Clay in the hunt at 27-23. Fleming Island answered with Riley Holton blasting a lightning fast single and a set nearfall Eastons to build a quick 7-0 lead before blood time for a nose bleed.
Holton won at 9-2 to put the score at 30-23 to set up the Viens and Boree finishes.
Both teams now get ready for districts with Clay hosting District 4-1A on February 17 and Fleming Island going to Oakleaf for district 1-3A on February 20.