CLEVELAND, Tenn. — Cleveland High School senior wrestler Tetoe Boyd raised his hands high, making the No. 1 gesture to the crowd that packed Bradley Central's Jim Smiddy Arena to the rafters Thursday night.
Boyd and the Blue Raiders put together another dominant performance on the mat, with coach Joey Knox's team earning a 50-18 victory against the Bears, their crosstown and Class AA rivals. Cleveland, which has a No. 1 state ranking, is on a mission to become the first program in TSSAA history to sweep the state duals and traditional tournament team titles five years in a row.
Right now, there seems to be no reason to doubt the Blue Raiders' ability to accomplish that task — at least from the outside. Knox and his wrestlers are looking inward, though, and deeper.
"Our studs did their job," Knox said after his team improved to 15-0 in duals this season. "The guys who were supposed to pin, pinned. Some of the others have stuff they need to figure out, though. We are gearing back up to make a run, and we have a lot of stuff to fix still.
"Tonight was still a pretty good showing. We gave up three more points than I thought we would."
Cleveland 126-pounder Logan Fowler had the quickest pin of the night as he quickly drove his opponent to the mat and kept him in a bad spot until the official slapped the mat after 53 seconds.
With an 11-3 major decision from Bentley Ellison to begin the dual at 120, Fowler's pin and a powerful showing by top-ranked Arlo Laxton — who won by injury forfeit — the Blue Raiders jumped out to a 16-0 lead.
Third-ranked Bradley Central was provided its first points from Ethan Lipsey, who won 8-3 at 138. However, the Bears lost momentum at 145.
After getting an earful from Knox to quit trying to throw his opponent, Hagen Cooper stepped up for the Blue Raiders. Fighting back from a 4-0 deficit, Cooper landed a defensive pin as he drove his back down into his opponent for six team points.
Cooper's victory drew his teammates off the bench and a loud roar from the road crowd.
"Hagen is a good wrestler but still lacks some experience," Knox said. "I challenged him to get it together, and he did just that. Our guys are tough, but I won't be satisfied until we have all 14 win."
Cleveland freshmen Cy Fowler and Lucas Szymborski added to the lead — Fowler with a 2-0 overtime victory at 152, while Syzmborski (160) secured bonus points for his team with a late takedown for a 13-4 major decision.
Bradley Central's Knox Watson won 4-3 at 170 as he kept his composure while Cleveland's Jax Ernest was given an unsportsmanlike penalty that was pivotal to the outcome. Jake Fox (182) and first-ranked Bryson Terrell (113) picked up pins for the Bears.
However, Cleveland's star power was too much to handle.
At 195, Boyd scored 12 points before ending his match with a second-period pin, while two-time state champion Ashton Davis secured a first-period pin. The match was sealed when Jared Canales (220) landed a 3-2 victory in the fourth overtime.