• Indians wrestler Jeremy Morales takes a shot versus his Dawson County opponent in round two of the Area Duals. Morales went on to win the match by a final score of 15-2.

-Indians headed to State Duals after 2nd at Area

The LCHS varsity wrestling team punched its ticket for a spot in the GHSA State Duals when it claimed second place at the AAA Area Duals hosted by Fannin County on Friday, Jan. 11.

With only the top two teams in the Area Duals receiving the opportunity to advance State, LCHS head wrestling coach Brian Matthews knew he needed strong performances from his wrestlers during the all-day tournament in order for the Indians to make the State Duals. Matthews also knew he would need to exercise some coaching strategy during the tournament.

The Indians began the day with a dual versus Westminster in the first round.

Levi Seabolt (170 pounds) got Lumpkin off to a tremendous start in the Indians’ first match. Seabolt quickly jumped ahead 13-3 in the first period and extended his lead to 15-4 by the end of the second period. Seabolt earned a technical fall in the third period after outscoring his opponent 21-6. Seabolt’s win gave Lumpkin an early 5-0 advantage on Westminster.

Sam Irwin (182), Ethan Kline (195), Dart Parker (220) and Seth McDonald (285) each followed Seabolt’s performance with wins by pin to give Lumpkin a sizable 29-0 lead.

Jeremy Morales (106) lost his match when his opponent pinned him in the second period, giving the Indians their first loss of the dual. Westminster cut the Lumpkin lead to 29-6 with the pin.

Jack Irwin (113) righted the ship for the Indians with a second period win by pin to extend Lumpkin’s lead to 35-6.

The Indians lost the next two matches versus Westminster in the 120 and 126 weight classes. The  losses by pin cut the Indians’ lead to 35-18.

Laken Ferrell (132) got Lumpkin back in the win column in his match when he captured a third period win by pin after trailing 2-0 at the end of the first period. Ferrell’s victory extended the Indians’ lead to 41-18.

Trevor Coryell (138) followed Ferrell’s solid win with a second period win by pin over his Westminster opponent. Coryell built a strong 5-0 advantage after the first period and was able to get his opponent’s shoulders to the mat to pick up six big points for the Indians.

Leading 47-18 with no chance for Westminster to mount a comeback, Matthews allowed the heart of his lineup to rest and gave his JV wrestlers an opportunity to experience the Area Duals in the final three matches. The young wrestlers worked hard on the mat, but each were defeated.

The Indians took the dual by the final score of 47-36 to advance to the semifinals.

In the semifinals, Lumpkin faced off with long-time rival Dawson County to see who would wrestle in the finals.

Seabolt bumped up a weight class and wrestled first in the 182 pound division. Seabolt and his Dawson opponent wrestled to a 0-0 draw in the first period, but Seabolt was able to take a 4-1 advantage by the end of the second period. Dawson proved aggressive in the third period, but Seabolt held on to win the match by a final score of 6-5 to give Lumpkin a 3-0 lead.

Irwin also bumped up and wrestled in the 195 pound division for the Indians. After a stalemate in the first period, Irwin began to get the upper hand and by the end of the second period held a 7-1 lead. Irwin scored two more points in the final period to win the match 9-1 and to give Lumpkin a 7-0 advantage over the Tigers.

Parker kept the wins coming with a third period win by pin over his Dawson opponent. The pin gave the Indians a 13-0 lead.

Lumpkin saw its first loss of the dual in the heavyweight match when McDonald made a late period mistake and was pinned by his Tiger opponent in the third period. The loss cut the Lumpkin lead to 13-6.

Morales continued his solid wrestling when he recorded a 15-2 victory to extend Lumpkin’s lead to 18-6.

Jack Irwin made short work of his Dawson opponent, earning a first period win by pin. Villalpando followed with a win by forfeit.

The Indians suffered losses in the 126, 132 and 138 pound weight divisions, making the score tighter at 32-24.

However, a 6-4 win by Coryell, a 10-2 win by Keller Brown (152), a win by pin by Zak Dooley (160) and a win by forfeit for Nolan Wheeler (170) to close out the dual gave the Indians a 51-24 victory over the Tigers.

The win advanced Lumpkin to the finals where they would be pitted against the North Hall Trojans.

Matthews huddled his team before the North Hall match and explained to his team that they were going to forfeit the dual versus the Trojans in order to avoid injury and get some rest before grappling with the winner of the third/fourth place dual versus Fannin County and Lovett in a true second place match.

“It’s risky and it goes against everything in me, but I’ve been doing this a long time and I think this is our best option to advance,” Matthews told his wrestlers.

The forfeit gave the Trojans the top spot at the tournament and advanced them to the State Duals.

The Indians sat back and watched as Fannin defeated Lovett, who had beaten the Rebels earlier in the day, and then prepared to lay it all on the line for the final State spot.

McDonald began the dual with a major decision victory for the Indians, giving them the early lead.

Morales fell in the 106 match, but Jack Irwin was able to come from behind in his match to earn a win by pin to keep Lumpkin ahead.

Villalpando followed with a major decision to extend the Indians’ advantage.

“Nacho won against a good wrestler and you could see Fannin start to break at that point,” said LCHS assistant wrestling coach Robert Baker. 

Lumpkin lost by pin in the 126 and 132 matches, but Coryell, Brown, Dooley and Wheeler each earned wins by pin to put Lumpkin comfortably ahead. Seabolt followed with a comeback victory in which he got a late win by pin. Sam Irwin easily pinned his opponent, Kline picked up a win by pin and Parker finished off the Rebels with a win by pin.

The end result was a dominant 61-17 win for Lumpkin, allowing Matthews’ gamble to pay off for the Indians.

“We put it on them,” Baker said. “They were broken.”

The victory over Fannin in the true second place dual allowed the Indians to punch their ticket to the GHSA State Duals.

Lumpkin will take on the best wrestling teams that Class AAA has to offer when they travel to the Macon Coliseum on, Thursday through Saturday, Jan. 17-19, for the GHSA State Duals.

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