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Late-match flurry leads Chapin past Dogs

Posted: January 16, 2014 11:40 a.m.
Updated: January 17, 2014 5:00 a.m.

Facing the meat of the Chapin order in what amounted to the bottom of the ninth inning, Camden was unable to complete the upset of the second-ranked Eagles.
In a Region 4-AAA wrestling pairing which was knotted at 24 with five matches left on the docket, the visiting Eagles downed 17th ranked Camden, 54-24, Wednesday night at the Camden High Wellness Center.
The loss was the first in three conference outings for Joey Hendrix’s young Bulldogs with three more league matches remaining.
The Dogs were where they needed to be after junior 195-pounder Xavier White scored a 7-3 win over Jack O’Neal to knot things at 24. The Eagles took it from there as they ran the table, scoring five pins and 30 unanswered points to take the win and grab the 4-AAA lead.
Hendrix said the match was a good measuring stick as to how his team has progressed from the start of the season to this point, when playoff berths are on the line.
“It’s a pretty good one,” he said. “They’re number two in the state and, I thought we wrestled a lot better tonight than the score probably indicates. I know we say that a lot, but we probably did. We were in some matches where we just got caught in the end.
“I’m proud of our boys. We’re young and (Chapin) is a little bit older than we are. This was a learning experience for us and we’re going to get better from this match.”
Each of Chapin’s eight victories on the mat came via the pin route while the guests were awarded another six points when Camden forfeited the 170-pound contest.
The Eagles jumped to a quick 6-0 lead with Darius Dreher scoring a first period pin in the evening-opening 126-pound contest. The Bulldogs responded by scoring 15 straight points in the next three matches.
Camden’s first victory came courtesy of Caid Cokley. The 132-pounder jumped out to a 5-0 first period lead over Taylor Cabe before Cabe tightened things at 7-3 after two. Cokely, who was never in danger of losing this match, put his foe away with a 10-3 win to cut the Chapin lead in half.
“Caid’s exciting to watch,” Hendrix said of the freshman’s energetic and fast-paced style on the mat. “He kind of makes you nervous, at times, but he’s getting better and better. We just have to make sure that he is consistent.”
The hosts went on top the easy way when Brice Nichols won by forfeit at 138 pounds to make it 9-6. Camden senior Josh Thomas, the lone Bulldog ranked among scmat.com’s top AAA wrestlers, needed just 51 seconds to put Nick Shealy on his back as the lead grew to 15-6.
Chapin regained the upper hand with a second period pin at 152, a first period pin at 160 and a forfeit at 170 togo on top at 24-15.
The Dogs stemmed the tide with back-to-back wins at 182 and 195.
In the 182-pound pairing, Camden freshman S.J. Lucas had his way in the early going in nearly putting Trent Hodge on his back before the Eagle turned the tables and used a near fall in the closing seconds of the first period to erase a 4-0 deficit and take a 7-4 lead. Lucas trailed, 9-7, after two stanzas before finding an extra gear and pinning Hodge with 31 ticks left in the third period clock to draw the Dogs to within 24-21.
For Lucas, finishing strong was a sign which Hendrix had been waiting to see from the Carolina Invitational champion of a year ago.
“I was real excited to see S.J. wrestle like he did tonight,” Hendrix said. “The longer the match goes, the harder it is for S.J., sometimes. He went the distance and right there at the end, he caught his guy with a pinning combination and finished the move. It was great to see that.”
Camden evened things when White upended O’Neal at 195 pounds in a match in which White broke a 2-2 tied with a three-point near fall in the second period. This was the second time the two had met as Neal, the state’s seventh-ranked 195-pounder, defeated White in last weekend’s tournament at Dreher High School.
“Xavier lost to that kid last weekend at the Dreher, but this win was more important,” Hendrix said.
“Xavier’s learning from his mistakes. That’s what we’re trying to do as a team; learn from our past when we weren’t successful, take it to the next match and go from there.”
With the match down to five pairings, the Eagles closed with a flurry; scoring two first period, two second period and one third period pin, the latter coming at 113 pounds when Drew Remensnyder was able to take down Camden’s Dymear Atkinson in the final half minute.
Following the loss, Hendrix said his team needed to put this setback behind them and look ahead to getting back on track  one night later in a home non-region contest with Hartsville.From there, the Bulldogs have an important Region 4-AAA test next Wednesday night at Westwood which also includes Lower Richland.
Hendrix hopes his team can take the lessons learned from the Chapin loss and put them into action the rest of the season.
“Chapin’s been established for a little while now and they have a good coach in Coach (Ken) Wilson,” Hendrix said. “He was over at Spring Valley the first time I coached here. You know that his kids are going to know what they’re doing. They’re very well-coached.
“Experience will sometimes get you. They just have a little more experience than we do, right now.”

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