Rocket grapplers come back late

Wednesday, December 9, 2015
Forrest junior Billy Clanton gets ready to pin Shelbyville's Michael Hernandez, giving the Rockets the lead for good in their 48-34 win over Shelbyville Thursday night at Chapel Hill. Photos by Anthony S. Puca

The Forrest wrestling team hosted Shelbyville Thursday night at Chapel Hill and the match turned into a spirited affair as the Golden Eagles gave the Rockets all they wanted before a late comeback spurred the home team to a 48-34 win.

"That was the type of atmosphere we hope we would have every night." Forrest coach Kyle Stacey said. "We had a great student body participation and got everybody fired up."

Long matches

It was a night of twists and turns for both squads as nine out of the 14 matches went to at least the second period and three went into the third period.

"Those are type of matches that wrestling is all about," Stacey said. "This is the type of environment we see when we go on the road, at the region duals and at the state tournament, so that is type of atmosphere we want to establish here."

The lone match to go the distance was in the 152-pound weight class when Shelbyville's Haustin Parsons upset Clepper Watson in a 14-6 major decision.

Harley Sisk was in control from the start of his match as he kicked off the night with a first-round pin over Rhett Birdsong

Harley Sisk (113 pounds) had little trouble in the opening match, pinning Rhett Birdsong with seven seconds remaining in the first period.

Good support

State tournament medalist Dylan Pendley (120) needed almost a full two rounds to pin Desmond Stepp, although Pendley was in control 10-0 at the time of the fall.

"This was a lot of fun, it was the biggest student section I have ever seen since I have been here, so we are getting a lot of support and the program is getting bigger and it was great to get this win," Pendley said. "I still have a lot of work to do. I am just going to go work hard at practice every day with my wrestling partners and get back to state and get a championship."

Forrest forfeited the 126-pound weight class before Shelbyville mounted a comeback, beginning with a three-round match between Kota Hartley and Montrell Hendricks in the 132-pound division, won by Hendricks on a pin with 1:20 remaining in the bout.

Familiar faces

The 138-pound match featured a pair of former teammates as Forrest's Peyton Sisk took on CJ Monce, who transferred to Shelbyville this year.

This match would also last into the third round when Monce came up with a pin with 1:37 remaining, giving Shelbyville an 18-12 lead.

Joseph Williams (145) quickly pinned Andy Solis to re-knot the match at 18, but Watson's three-round loss gave the Golden Eagles a 22-18 lead.

Freshman Wesley McCoy (160) gave the Rockets a huge lift when he took down Matthew Powell with 2.9 seconds left in the first period, making it 24-22 in favor of FHS.

Back and forth

Austin "Georgia" Geeting (170) followed with a second round fall over Christian Morales, extending Forrest's lead to 30-22, but the Golden Eagles fought back once again.

Triston Maxwell (182) pinned William Eddins and Jerry Martin III (195) made it two in a row when he won by fall over Tanner Kerr, giving the Bedford County bunch a 30-34 lead with three matches to go.

It was up to Billy Clanton (220) and the Rocket junior came through in a big way, pinning Michael Hernandez with 1:25 remaining in the second period.

"That was pretty intense, we have never had this big of a student section, so they were really building the intensity for us," Clanton said. "In my match, I thought I had Hernandez pinned once and I thought it was a bad call, but eventually I was just able to out-power him."

Winning pin

Nik McGuiggan puts the finishing touches on Cristopher Blindt in the 285-pound bout won by the Forrest senior grappler.

Nikolas McGuiggan (285) came up with the clincher, taking no prisoners when he pinned Cristopher Blindt with 37.4 seconds remaining in the first period to secure the Forrest win.

The last match of the night featured Forrest freshman newcomer Jeffrey Gross (106), a New Jersey native, who looked very polished in a second-round fall over Jerrimery Jones.

"Anything could have swung the match tonight," Stacey said. "I was proud of the way our kids wrestled tonight, they wrestled in an aggressive style and that is that type of style we have tried to instill in them the past few years."