published Saturday, February 18th, 2012

Trojans, Raiders, Bears 1-2-3 in state

FRANKLIN, Tenn. -- Soddy-Daisy was looking in the rearview mirror but wasn't quite ready to take a white-flag lap, and Cleveland wasn't offering up a white flag as the Chattanooga area schools' duel for the Division I state wrestling team championship continued.

At one point, Soddy-Daisy coach Steve Henry noticed a discrepancy in one of the Trojans' scores and went to the table to fight for that point. It became an extra team point.

"We were fighting for every point we could get and trying to get a little breathing room because I know they're over there fighting just as hard as we are," he said.

Soddy-Daisy has a 21-point spread over the Blue Raiders -- 173-152 -- going into this morning's consolation semifinals and medal rounds for third and fifth places. Bradley Central is the only other team to break the century mark with 102 points.

"I don't know if we have enough to come back, but they better be ducking because we're going to be throwing a lot of haymakers," Cleveland coach Eric Phillips said. "We may not be state champs but I know the kids will fight and show their character."

The Blue Raiders have six alive with two championship finalists -- Chris DeBien (106) and Austin Stevison (113) -- leaving them with an uphill battle to catch the Trojans.

Soddy-Daisy has eight alive with four finalists -- Jacob Stevens (120), Campbell Lewis (132), Blaike Henry (170) and Billy Swanson (220). Trojans still in the consolations are Josh Deckelman (126), Turbo Smith (145), Brett Ervin (182) and Alex Seeley (285).

"I'm proud of the kids. We scored a lot of points today," Henry said. "We lost a couple we'd like to have but other people stepped their game up."

Henry wasn't taking any chances, seeing every point he could get, and with good reason.

"If you'll remember last year, Bradley was ahead after the first day, we led the second day and Cleveland led when it counted," he said.

Notre Dame moved into the top 10, and currently holds ninth with 72 points which is nine better than Blackman. Central is in 19th with 42.5, Walker Valley 22nd with 33.5, Hixson 25th with 32 and Ooltewah and Tyner are tied for 30th with 28 points, one better than Red Bank and two better than Silverdale Baptist.

Chattanooga's other finalists are Tyner's DeAngelo James (113), Bradley's Jericho Crutcher (126), Notre Dame's Jack Boone (126) and Grayson Mullin (145) and Silverdale Baptist's Josh Mackey.

James, who has yet to lose this season, has a chance to become Tyner's first state champion since Sean Smith won in 1992. He already is assured of being the school's first medalist since 1993.

Soddy-Daisy's Lewis is going for his fourth state title and would become the first Trojan to accomplish that feat.

"Now he just has to realize and get the job finished," Henry said.

about Ward Gossett...

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 ...

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