There are answers out there, and the Soddy-Daisy wrestling team keeps finding them.
The Trojans last week were a quality man down against Cleveland and steamrolled the third-ranked Blue Raiders. They had two weight classes without usual starters Tuesday against fifth-ranked Baylor and won 40-30 after facing 12-9 and 27-16 deficits.
"The kids just keep coming up big -- finding ways to persevere -- and they did it tonight with two quality guys out of the lineup," said Soddy-Daisy coach Steve Henry, whose team is ranked second in the state.
Actually only one, Gage Richmond, missed the meet because the other who failed to make weight -- Josh Deckelman -- moved into Richmond's 132-pound slot. Both wrestlers were on weight on their school's scales but were ounces over for the official weigh-in at Baylor.
While Richmond sat, Deckelman's chore was competing with four-time state champion Zach Watson, and Watson, who bumped up a weight class from 126, built a major-decision advantage before pinning Deckelman 38 seconds into the second period.
"That's nothing against Josh. He was wrestling the best wrestler in the state," Henry said. "Watson is such a refreshing youngster. He shakes your hand like a man and always has something nice to say. He is the epitome of what every man should want his son to be. I can't help but love that kid."
Watson's pin gave Baylor its first lead at 12-9, but it was short-lived because Trojans senior Campbell Lewis, a workout partner of Watson's in the offseason, scored a major decision at 138. Turbo Smith then extended the Trojans' lead to 16-12 before Baylor surprised all by running Houston Clements out at 152 pounds.
In his first varsity match as a Red Raider, the ex-McCallie wrestler posted an 8-3 decision.
The Red Raiders then got back-to-back pins from Matthew Cate and Spencer Craig to grab a 27-16 advantage.
The Trojans, 24-2 with their only losses coming against Georgia powerhouse Collins Hill and a split with top-ranked Christian Brothers, went to their lineup's top foursome to regain the lead and then sew up the meet.
They bumped Blaike Henry from 170 to 182 and he started a four-match pin string that took Soddy-Daisy into a commanding 40-27 advantage with one match left.
Henry, a senior, got off to a slow start but rebounded from trailing 7-2 to winning in 3:32.
"Blaike, bless his heart, waited his time and then struck like a cobra," Henry said.
It was like a gong signaling the beginning of the end for Baylor.
"That win really seemed to fire us up, get us on track," Henry said.
It was bang-bang-bang from there. Brett Ervin vaulted the Trojans into a lead they wouldn't relinquish with a 49-second pin. Billy Swanson increased the lead to seven with a 65-second pin, and Alex Seeley put the victory on ice by a 91-second pin.
"We wrestled well in places and we wrestled hard," Baylor coach Ben Nelson said. "I thought we had opportunities we could take advantage of and we didn't. There were points there to get, and we just didn't get them."
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 ...