Gordon Lee wrestling coach Brent Raby was still searching for answers Sunday as to why his team lost the GHSA Class A duals championship Saturday night in Macon.
The Trojans lost a 31-29 controversial decision to Holy Innocents when a Gordon Lee wrestler was called for a flagrant misconduct penalty at the conclusion of the next-to-last individual match. Freshman Jonny Ragsdale was ahead 18-6 when time ran out, a major decision that would have given the Trojans a six-point lead.
Instead the head referee ruled Ragsdale intentionally head-butted his opponent. Gordon Lee was stripped of the four points, Holy Innocents given six and the Trojans penalized three team points. Raby was told the head butt was a judgement call and could not be questioned. The Gordon Lee coach could not, and still does not, understand how the team lost the four points Ragsdale had won since the match was technically over when the incident occurred.
Had the three team points been deducted, the Trojans would have needed to win at 113 pounds to win the title. Instead, they were locked out following a 20-minute discussion that included members of the GHSA head table.
"I have been sitting here looking over the [bout] sheet and trying to figure out how we lost," said Raby, who was also penalized a team point for questioning the referee's judgement. "We wrestled what basically was a perfect dual match against a team we lost to by 28 last week. We did not give up any pins and we won three matches we didn't think we would, yet we came away second. In my mind we're still the state champions.
"I questioned the points not being awarded for winning the match, and when I asked the head referee why they were given points in that situation, he warned me. When I asked to see the rule book, they threatened to eject me. The key here is the match was over."
Gordon Lee parents -- along with several from rival Bremen -- were very vocal during the awards ceremony, one the Trojans did not attend. The loss was hard to swallow by itself, but the team and parents had planned to award the championship trophy to the brother of Jordan Queen, a senior member of the team killed in a fall automobile accident.
"His little brother turned 8 Saturday and that trophy was going to be his present," Raby said. "It's tough to handle why we weren't able to do that."
Raby said he plans to talk to the Gordon Lee administration when school convenes Tuesday to see if the school has any options in the matter.
Also coming up short Saturday was Heritage, the Generals falling to now three-time defending champion Gilmer County, 29-27, in the Class AAA title match. The Bobcats had lost two previous meetings to Heritage in the past month, but coach Ben Snider used those matches to help make some changes to his lineup.
"We saw there was a chance to change a few things and a few of our kids sacrificed to make the right weight for this weekend," Snider said. "We didn't give up any bonus points until we had it locked up, and that was the key. My hat's off to Heritage, though. They are a great team and one of the classier programs in the state."
Lindsey Young is a sports writer at the Chattanooga Times Free Press who started work at the Chattanooga News-Free Press 24 years ago. He covers the Northwest Georgia prep beat and NASCAR. Lindsey’s hometown is Ringgold, Ga., and he graduated from Lakeview-Fort Oglethorpe High School. He received an associate’s degree from Dalton Junior College (now Dalton State) and a bachelor’s degree in communications from UTC. He has won several writing awards, including two Tennessee Sports ...