December 7, 2013 – The Devils Varsity team motored out West to East Pauling for a return to the East Paulding Crossbone Duals – another team tournament. 
We began in our pool by wrestling Chapel Hill.  It was a romp with all our wrestlers that won winning by pins except for Isaiah who teched his man.  We lost one match at 145.  Of note, Jason Caldwell wrestled at 106 for the first time this season.  Things will get easier for him after Christmas with the extra 2 lbs. 
Then we got to wrestle the home team, East Paulding.  But, they were no match for the Big Blue this day.  Jason led us off with a pin at 106.  Daniel Leon (brother of Abraham) got a forfeit and Jelani as well as Abraham scored 6 pts each by pinning the EP wrestler.  Brad and Rashad both got forfeits.  Caleb was wrestling up a weight class and was defeated.  Alex Ambio scored a pin fall and then Anthony Neary won the closest fought bout of the match 3-0.  Jonathan Gates delivered at 170 with a 7-1 victory.  Dalton Brans held a 182 man down with his shoulders firmly planted on the mat for the pin and the 6 team points.  Isaiah won 11-7 as he continues to transition from football conditioned to wrestling conditioned.  As a former lineman, I can attest to how hard it is to try to stay heavy for football and then lean out for wrestling.  At least my football line position coach was also the head wrestling coach!  Brandon then got us a forfeit at 225 and Brian Marshall pinned his man to finish up this 69-6.

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Against Cartersville we had a more competitive match. 
We began slightly behind with Daniel Leon giving up a pin at 113.  But, his teammates fought back and Jelani Miller got a pin to even it up and Abraham revenged the family loss and pinned his Cartersville wrestler.  Brad wrestled and got a decision at 12-5.  So, at this point 15-6 Devils.  We shed some points as Caleb and Rashad were both pinned and Alex lost by 3 points.  Anthony Neary scored 10 points in his match, but gave up 19, so Cartersville was now up 25-15.  At 170, we hit our stride with Jonathan Gates getting the pin, Dalton Brans collecting a forfeit and we now led 27-25.
Our big men really performed and put it out of reach with Isaiah, Brandon and Brian all three pinning their men and we surged out to a 45-25 lead.  Jason Caldwell capped the match with a nail bitter 6-5 match.  If you have never wrestled, nothing is more challenging than holding on to a one point lead.  On top you have to try to be aggressive enough to make the ref happy, but not give up a reversal or escape.  On bottom you have to make sure you don’t get turned and give up any back points and in either position a stalling penalty could tie the match.  Good Job Jason. 
With the pool wrestling complete, We lined up across from North Paulding for the semi-final match.  NP has the largest student population of any of the Paulding High schools and is the only one to wrestle in AAAAAA classification.  It was a battle.

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We started one weight class further down the roster with 120.  Jelani won with a big pin and we were off to a quick 6-0 lead.  Abraham lost a close match 0-2, but Brad pinned his man so we were up 12-3.  Caleb lost a decision and Rashad was pinned, but Alex won a 3-0 decision and we now held a 15-12 lead.  Anthony  wrestled another tight match but fell 5-4 and the team score was tied at 15.  At 170, Jonathan pinned his man and Dalton wasted no time scoring his 6 points with a 41 second pin.  Isaiah and Brandon  also scored pins and we are up by a substantial  39-15 score – which is enough to secure the team victory. That was a good thing because  Brian,  Jason and Daniel were all pinned, so with a 39-33 victory and sigh of Wheww, we moved on to the finals against Cass. 
FINALS of CROSS BONE DUALS:  Marietta High versus Cass High
126 lbs:  Jelani Miller drew one of Cass’ true stars, Blake Walker, a 3 time state qualifier and finalist in two different weight classes for Cherokee.  He did not get pinned, but 1-16 was final score. 
132:  Brad also ran up on a state finalist in Rashad Williams who placed 6th last year at 126 and was pinned. 
138: Caleb fought hard, but was also pinned. 
145: Rashad was pinned.  So, after 4 matches we are getting skunked 0-23. 
152: Alex won his usual tight match, 9-6 which got us on the board.  3-23
160: They forfeited!  We are now down 9-23.
170: Jonathan got a roll going with a pin and we are in this match at 15-23.
182: That Brans kid does it again and with a pin, we are down 2, 21-23
195:  Isaiah PIN 27-23 MHS
225: Brandon PIN 33-23 MHS
285: Brian Marshall gave up a pin, but we are still in the lead 33-29
106: Jason was defeated by pinfall and we were slightly behind 33-35
113: Daniel was outscored 1-12 which is a major decision.  33-39 Cass
120: Jelani was outmanned and the match was lost 33-45. 
Finishing as runner up in this team tournament is something to be very proud of.  And, with just a little more production in this match, we could have won this match and been champions.  And, to wrestle 5 wrestling matches in one day is just beyond my comprehension.  My hat is off to them.   Congrats to all the coaches, wrestlers, managers and sports meds help.

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