Trion wrestlers pull off mid-match upset to secure state duals title

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There are moments that occur during championship events that will stick with a team forever.

For the Trion High School wrestling team, that moment came about halfway through their win over Social Circle in the GHSA Class A state duals final Saturday at Commerce.

The Bulldogs led by three points after five of the 14 individual bouts when 160-pounder Toby Maddux pulled off an 8-2 decision over reigning individual state champion Will Hames. Trion won the next four bouts, three by pin, to take control of a match it would win 43-27 to secure the program's second state duals title in three years.

"That win really boosted our team," Trion coach Eric Brock said. "The majority of these seniors have been wrestling for a long time and working towards this championship for a long time. They have provided great leadership for this team all year, and this is a great reward for their hard work over the years."

After Maddux's big win, Cohen Blaschke won by pin at 170, Bladyn Bowman by major decision at 182, Logan Eller by pin at 195 and Brantley Willbanks by pin at 220. The Bulldogs had taken the early lead with pins from Deagan Vaughn (113) and Andrew Jones (132).

Earlier in the day, Trion defeated Screven County 77-6, then topped 2021 state champion Mount Pisgah Christian 42-30 in the semifinals. Bowman, Eller and Willbanks were among the Bulldogs who recorded pins in both matches.

Trion was the only area team to earn a title, but Class AA's Dade County and AAA's Sonoraville earned third-place finishes.

Dade County's run came after a 39-33 loss to eventual champion Lovett in a semifinal in which the Wolverines led 27-6. The Lions won the next seven bouts, including three by pin, one by technical fall and two by major decision. Zac Smith, Landon Williams, Isaac Pangle and Cody Williams had early pins for Dade County before Lovett rallied.

After getting past Lamar County 40-30 in the consolation semis, the Wolverines again started strong to get past Fannin County 39-33 and earn third place.

The match started at 182, where Landon Williams got a pin, and Cody Williams and Isaac Pangle followed with the same. Gideon Moore and Jake Gatlin ended a 30-6 run with pins, and Cayden Cooper clinched the finish with a pin at 152.

Like Dade County, Sonoraville fell into the consolation bracket after losing to the eventual champion in the AAA semifinals. Rockmart, which went on to edge Gilmer 31-30 in the title round, overcame an early 22-18 Sonoraville lead to run away with a 53-22 victory.

The Phoenix rebounded with a 54-20 win over Oconee County in the consolation semifinals and closed out their day with a 48-28 win over Adairsville to secure third. Sonoraville started its last dual with consecutive pins from Colt Weaver, Gavin Harper, Jebb Knight, Draven Peppers, Jaxx Knight, Noah Chastain and Thomas Young, and later added a pin from Logan Moore.

Also in AAA, North Murray, after losing 70-10 to Rockmart in the first round, defeated Morgan County 40-39 on criteria in the wrestlebacks before losing to Adairsville 58-21 in the consolation semifinals. Murray County lost its two matches Saturday, 59-12 to Gilmer and 42-30 to Oconee County.

In Class AAAA, Heritage won its first match, 57-21 over Hampton, as Andrew Moore, Victor Johnson, Andrew Dietz, Skylar Grant, Tate Thomas and Hayden Scheeler had pins. The Generals then lost 51-22 to top-seeded Jefferson, despite a pin from Thomas at 106, and ended their day with a 46-20 loss to Columbus, though Johnson and Moore had major decisions and Dax Akers a pin in that dual.

Contact Lindsey Young at Follow him on Twitter @youngsports22.