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December 4-- The streak of 6 straight championships in the Jacket Duals came to an end this weekend when Toombs County lost to Veterans HS in the semi-finals of the Jacket Duals hosted by Jeff Davis.   The tournament was host to 25 teams from GA and one team from SC.

The Matdogs opened the tournament on Friday by defeating Benedictine 61-12 in the first round. Jose Balderas opened with a 1st period pin and the Matdogs never looked back. In Round 2, they beat Trinity Christian 57-12.   Martin Santana got the Toombs team off to a good start against Trinity with a 1st period pin, Cruz Arredondo wrestled a 2 time GISA state champ from Trinity in 2nd match of the dual and after leading 17-3, Cruz ended the match with a pin. Toombs drew area foe Berrien Co. in round 3 and cruised to a 51-24 win. Ricardo Santana and Dashanta Parker got two pins to start the dual and Isiah Wright got a pin later to help the Matdogs to the win. The Matdogs finished the night by shutting out Bacon Co. 66-0.

Saturday matches began with Toombs facing South Effingham. Ricardo Santana, Chandler Lynn and Jonathan Morales all pinned early to lead the Matdogs to a 45-30 win. Toombs beat host Jeff Davis in round two on Saturday by a score of 64-18.   Blake Hall had a pin and Rolando Tinoco got a pin to remain undefeated on the year to lead the dogs to victory. Toombs drew Vidalia in the last round before the medal round on Saturday. The Matdogs cruised to a 55-15 win, getting 7 pins in the dual. Toombs drew Veterans HS in the semifinals and lost by a 50-30 score. Pins by Wright, Tinoco, Balderas, and the Santana borthers were not enough to off set the early lead by Veterans. Toombs won the 3rd place match against Lexington SC by a 36-30 score.

Coach Benton talked about the tournament. “Well it hurt to lose a tournament we have won for the last 6 years, the kids were disappointed.   We got a scare on Friday when Dawson Malone had to be taken to the hospital. He was air-lifted to Savannah and had blood on his brain. Thank the Lord, he spent a couple of nights in the hospital and was released Sunday. Chandler got cut over the eye in Friday’s first match. He wrestled the rest of the night Friday, got 4 stitches that night and finished the tournament. We were shaken up a little early by those injuries, but I thought our guys stayed pretty focused. As far as the tournament went, we knew it would eventually come down to a great dual with Veterans. I was hoping it would be in the finals, but they did a random draw and we got Veterans instead of Ware or Lexington SC. We got down early and couldn’t recover. When you are giving up 18 going in, its hard to beat a team like Veterans. Banks (145) was taking the SAT, Dawson (170) was out with that injury and we don’t have a 195 down yet, so we knew we would have to wrestle the perfect dual and we didn’t.   I was proud of how our kids responded after their first loss of the year, they rallied and beat a pretty good team out of South Carolina. We are getting closer to having our line-up together. We will have our 220 down in a week or so and our 195 down as well. Getting Chandler in the line-up was big and we will get Demetrius Owens back in another week or two, so that will be big. We go to West Laurens this week and then the Christmas break will be very busy. Sam, Brooks and Trey continue to do a great job getting these guys ready and they will look at the mistakes we made this weekend and get them corrected. I just really feel the ceiling this team has unbelievable and I can’t wait to see how far they can go.”

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