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Chapin proves to be Demons’ kryptonite, again

Eagles take down L-E in round three, 39-32

Posted: February 8, 2018 9:16 a.m.
Updated: February 9, 2018 1:00 a.m.
Tom Didato/C-I

L-E’S DEVIN WILSON has Chapin’s Josh Green in his control en route to Wilson’s second period pin in their 132-pound match during Monday’s 4A Lower State third round pairing contested inside the Demons Den.

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One by one, eyes red and swollen, they emerged from the mini gym at Lugoff-Elgin High School following a lengthy team meeting conducted by head wrestling coach Ted Monroe.

This was not how their season was supposed to end. The L-E wrestlers should have been rolling up the mat and checking their cell phones to see who their next opponent would be. Chapin, however, turned those best-laid plans into unfulfilled dreams.

For the second year in a row, fourth-ranked Chapin put an end to the Demons’ season --- this time one round earlier --- with a 39-32 victory over the hosts on Monday night in the Demons Den. By virtue of the win, it was the defending 4A Lower State champion Eagles advancing to the Lower State finals while sending the hosts to only their fourth loss in 34 dual match starts this season.

Heading back into the main gym in the middle of a pack of his wrestlers, Monroe said his third-ranked entry picked a bad night to not have been on their ‘A’ game.

“Tough loss,” Monroe said after taking a whisper of a breath. “I don’t think it was an effort thing. It was an execution thing. We just didn’t stay off our back tonight.

“Sometimes, you just don’t have it. I think we did everything to prepare in the right ways but sometimes, you don’t execute and you come up a little short.”

Chapin, which defeated L-E in last year’s 4A Lower State finals, 39-37, out-pinned the Demons on Monday, 6-2, in the 13 matches which were wrestled. Holding a 39-26 lead heading into the evening-ending 120-pound pairing, the Eagles forfeited the final match and give the hosts their final six points.

In a match in which both sides and their fans had objections, at times, with the two officials on the mat, Monroe said that was not the reason why his team lost.

“The refereeing … I wasn’t pleased about a few things,” Monroe said. “The refereeing had nothing to do with this, though. Give all the credit to Chapin. Give all the credit to (Eagles) Coach (Ken) Wilson. They have been and continue to be a thorn in our side.”

There was no more heated situation on Monday than that which occurred in the 220-pound match between Chapin’s Cole Haile, the number one ranked 220-pounder in 4A, and his opponent, L-E’s Cameron Payne, who is third in the same scmat.com list.

The two seniors took the mat with the Eagles holding a 27-16 lead with five pairings scheduled to follow. Haile led, 3-1, late in the first period before lifting Payne off the mat and then dropped him on his head after the referees had blown their whistles as the two wrestlers went outside the inner circle with 7.3 seconds left in the first period.

Payne took exception to the move as things got heated. Following a lengthy delay and discussion among the officials, they relayed what they were discussing with the two coaches. After their talk with Monroe, he returned to the bench with an incredulous look on his face as Haile was awarded two points for a takedown, another pair for back points and another point for a rules violation. The five points gave Haile an 8-1 advantage which he turned into a pin with nine seconds left in the second period to give the guests a 33-16 lead.

The fact that Haile wrestled at 220 was something which was left for speculation after Chapin weighed him in at 195 pounds prior to the match. Since the Eagles won the toss of the disk to determine which team would send out their wrestler first, it allowed Wilson to have his choice as to where to insert his team’s best wrestler in the rotation.

“They kind of trapped us into where Cole Haile was going to be and we really couldn’t get away from that,” Monroe said. “We wanted to try and trade wins with them. We wanted to put Cam (Payne) at 195 or, 220, either one. 

“I was a little shocked that they weighed Cole Haile at 195 because that changed the way we had to do our lineup because we went out there and lost the flip for the second year in a row (against Chapin) … it doesn’t hurt to be a little lucky sometimes. That’s two years in a row that we were a little bit unlucky with that.”

The circumstances which surrounded the 220-pound match gave way to fans from each side of the gym becoming even more vociferous. The L-E faithful’s bitterness would quickly turn into cheers as freshman heavyweight Drake Davis needed just one move and 12 ticks of the clock to put Josh Taylor on his back and bring the Demons to within 33-22 with three matches left on the docket.

“Drake has turned into a force,” Monroe said. “He has that good head and arm move. I told him that I would like for him to do a little more to set it up but he’s good at what he does. He poses some matchup problems because he’s such a big kid and he’s only going to get stronger. If he can control his weight over the next couple years, he has a chance to be really, really, really good.”

With the Chapin lead cut to 11, L-E sent out another freshman, Brice Carron, to wrestle Chapin senior Justin West at 106 pounds. All Carron would do was dominate the match, getting a two-point takedown in the opening 20 seconds and carry a 7-0 lead into the final period. Carron had West on his back for most of the second half of the match but could not get the pin. By the time he came away with the four-point, major decision 13-0 shutout, Carron was emotionally and physically spent.

“From our sidelines, of course,” Monroe said, “it looked like Brice had his kid stuck two or three times.

“Brice gave it everything that he had. He was sucking down weight and he is having a hard time holding down fluids. He is always going to give you everything he’s got and he did that again tonight. That’s a freshman wrestling a senior. I don’t know what else Brice could have done but he definitely showed up and gutted it out.”

Chapin avoided having to wrestle the 120-pound finale after Will Anderson’s pin with a minute left in the 113-pound match put the Eagles over the top with a 39-26 advantage.

The match started at 126 pounds and with the Eagles throwing a curve at the Demons by sending out Mitch O’Connor, their regular 132-pounder. It was O’Connor who got off to a quick start, leading Hunter Mathis, 7-0, after one period before hanging on for the 7-3 win but only after Mathis had O’Connor on his back in the third period.

“They kind of shocked me a little bit because I thought the (Josh) Green kid, who weighed in at 120, would be at 126,” Monroe said. “We weren’t really expecting O’Connor to be at 126. He had come down from 132, where he was a ranked wrestler. Hunter wrestled him last year and beat him in a close match. The kid (O’Connor) came out ready to wrestle, though. Give him the credit.”

The Demons hit the board at 132 pounds as senior Devin Wilson carried a 5-0 lead into the second period before getting a pin with 46 seconds left in that stanza to give the hosts the 6-3 lead. Lorenzo McGee followed at 138 and scored a two-point reverse with 45 seconds left in his bout with Jack Norris to come away with a 5-4 decision and a 9-3 lead.

Pins from Kyle Nichols and Cole Hodges at 145 and 152 pounds, respectively, put Chapin back on top at 15-9. When L-E senior Jacob Carron stopped Garrett Dean with a 9-1 major decision at 160, it closed the gap to 15-13. A pin from Shawn Haile at 170 pounds would hike the Eagle advantage to 21-13 while sending the Demon coaching staff into a quick meeting to try and decide which route they would take for the final seven matches.

A Hunter Dixon pin at 182 pounds padded the guests’ advantage to 27-13. L-E’s Brett Carder gave the momentum back to the home bench as he broke a 4-4 stalemate with Bryson Miller after two periods by scoring two back points and two for a takedown in the closing 90 seconds while gutting out an 8-4 victory at 195 pounds.

“We got in the position where we had to come from behind and we had to make some moves,” Monroe said of what he and his assistant coaches discussed during their in-match meeting. “The intention was not to wrestle Brett Carder. He’s a sophomore and an inexperienced wrestler but we felt like he gave us the best chance there.”

The Eagles regained the upper hand with Cole Haile’s win at 220.

With their dual match season finished, the Demons will keep on working in preparation for the 4A Lower State qualifier in Beaufort on Feb. 16-17. Monroe said he hopes that weekend and the following 4A state individual championships in Anderson will provide his wrestlers the opportunity to close the year on a positive note.

“We have to get better and get ready for individuals,” he said matter-of-factly. “We have to man-up and try to salvage something out of the rest of this season.”

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