LAGRANGE – It was a championship mismatch.
In the final match of the Granger Duals on Saturday, the wrestling teams from LaGrange High and Northgate faced off with the championship on the line.
Both teams had been impressive to that point, having posting matching 4-0 records.
Only one team was going to finish the day with an unblemished record, though, and it was LaGrange.
The Grangers rolled to a 54-28 victory, and they celebrated a tournament victory on their home floor.
“I expected that one to be a lot closer than it was,” LaGrange coach Scooter Weathers said of the Northgate match. “We wrestled really well. For the first time this year, I saw us wrestle how we need to wrestle as far as being really physical.”
Weathers said his men wrestled with an edge during the big match against Northgate.
“We had several unnecessary penalties,” Weathers said. “We’re wrestling hard, and if it happens it happens. I told them, I’ll not fuss at you for getting one of those. If you punch someone, we’ll have issues. But if you’re wrestling hard, and they call unnecessary roughness, I don’t have a problem with that.”
LaGrange’s closest match of the day was against Smiths Station.
It was tied at 33-33 heading into the final match, and it was Jackson Bozeman winning by pin at 170 pounds to give LaGrange a 39-33 victory.
There was no suspense in the other matches.
LaGrange began the day by beating Cedartown 73-6, and it followed that up with the narrow win over Smiths Station.
LaGrange then beat Brookstone 84-0 and Heard County 54-30 before finishing the day with the win over Northgate.
As satisfying as the win was, Weathers said there is still a long way to go.
“We’re nowhere near peaking,” Weathers said. “Everybody’s not where they need to be at their weight classes. We haven’t even started climbing the mountain to start peaking yet.”
One of LaGrange’s top wrestlers on Saturday was DeErious Sands, who hasn’t dropped a match all season.
Sands, wrestling at 106 pounds, went 5-0 on Saturday, and he improved to 18-0 on the season.
On the opposite end of the weight spectrum is senior heavyweight Emmanuel Mann, who was also perfect on Saturday with a 5-0 record.
Dijon Hart, who was wrestling at 182 pounds, also posted a 5-0 record.
Finishing 4-1 on Saturday were Luke Haynes, Jacaris Johnson, Matt Watford and Guy Wegienka, and Colt Creed, Quindon Dunson, John Todd Bohn, Chase Sams and Jordan Ragan each went 3-2.
Weathers said Dunson has been a pleasant surprise in his first season of wrestling.
“He has been a real bright spot,” Weathers said. “He’s a first-year wrestler, a sophomore. He has no idea what he’s done, but he’s so strong.”
In a match against a wrestler from Smiths Station who was a state placer in Alabama last year, Dunson hung tough and lost a close one.
“When he’s on the mat, he’s getting after it,” Weathers said. “To lose 14-11 to (Jacobb) Goodwin, that’s impressive.”
LaGrange will return to the mat on Friday for the start of the two-day Chattahoochee River Wrestling Association tournament that will be held at Central-Carroll High.
Reach Kevin Eckleberry at (706) 884-7311 or on Twitter @lagrangesports