FRANKLIN, Tenn. -- Soddy-Daisy and Cleveland are a step away from the Tennessee Division I Class AAA state championship match, Hixson came up a step shy of the A/AA title bout and Central barely allowed its opponents any steps at all.
The defending A/AA champion Purple Pounders swarmed Page and Sycamore, their first two opponents, winning 14 of 28 matches en route to 78-3 and 73-0 victories.
"We have been telling the kids all week that going wasy going to lay down for us and it looks like they listened. They came ready to wrestle," first-year coach Marques Dotson said.
The Pounders will wrestle Pigeon Forge for the title.
"I don't know much about them. We'll get our heads together as a coaching staff, find a practice room and get ready," Dotson said.
Hixson coach Garrick Hall knows more than he wants about Pigeon Forge. His Wildcats dropped a close one, going into the final bout with a 32-27 lead and needing only to avoid a pin by 195-pound David Kieta. They couldn't.
"Shoot, my hat's off to Pigeon Forge. They wrestle hard and they wrestle to win. I told our guys that life isn't fair and that we'll win with class and lose with class," Hall said.
"You have to be upset that we lost but we have to get over and show Hixson's class and pride. We want to come back and get third on Saturday."
Soddy-Daisy blistered first-time attendee Wilson Central 61-3 and then overcame a touch of physical wrestling mixed with a dose of stalling in handing long-time rival Clarksville only its second loss of the year, 39-29.
"It's always good to beat an old rival and we're positioned where we wanted to be, but I don't know that we have ever entered this tournament as a favorite and I don't know how well the team is handling it," Trojans coach Steve Henry said. "I know we're not wrestling nearly as well as we should. We're sloppy in some places and we're not thinking in others.
"I told the kids that everybody was going to bring their A game against us and that we had to get ready for it. Hopefully we can do that between the rest of tonight and tomorrow afternoon."
Cleveland, in the other half of the AAA bracket, thumped Blackwood 58-12 and then beat Ravenwood 36-27.
The Trojans will wrestle Independence at 2 p.m. this afternoon after Independence slipped past Cordova 36-35 in its quarterfinal. Cleveland's semifinal opponent will be Science Hill, a 63-18 win over first-time attendee Beech.
"I was very nervous about that last match. We saw them at Brentwood earlier in the year and all of their kids do the same things. We knew they were a savvy bunch, a well-coached bunch," Blue Raiders coach Eric Phillips said.
One of the major wins was from Austin Oliver (120). He came up with a pin against a wrestle he beat for fifth place in the state last year.
"I thought we'd beat him. I thought a major [decision] was possible. I'm very pleased with the pin," Phillips said.
"We got a big lead [starting at 220 pounds] going into the meat of their lineup. I thought our guys from 120 through 145 did a good job of finishing for us."
• The Georgia area traditional tournaments began Friday and state title hopefuls Heritage and Gordon Lee will need some help in today's final rounds of their respective events to enhance their championship hopes.
At the Area 7-AAA tournament at Allatoona, the Generals have 10 wrestlers still alive through the championship quarterfinals, but rival Gilmer County has 13. The two teams meet in nine different semifinal bouts this morning. LaFayette and Southeast Whitfield join host Allatoona with six wrestlers alive.
Gordon Lee advanced all 11 of its wrestlers into the semifinals at the Area 3-A tournament at Darlington, but with three empty spots will give up a lot of points to leader Holy Innocents. Helping the Trojans' cause were nine pins and a major decision among the 11 bouts wrestled Friday.
Staff writer Lindsey Young contributed to this report.
Ward Gossett is an assistant sports editor and writer for the Times Free Press. Ward has a long history in Chattanooga journalism. He actually wrote a bylined story for the Chattanooga News-Free Press as a third-grader. He Began working part-time there in 1968 and was hired full time in 1970. Ward now covers high school athletics, primarily football, wrestling and baseball and University of Tennessee at Chattanooga wrestling. Over a 40-year career, he has covered ...