By Nick Nunn, Staff Writer
The Morgan County High School Mat Dogs traveled to Elbert County this past Saturday, Dec. 21, to compete in the Granite City Duals.
The Dogs fell to Social Circle, Chestatee, and Jackson County but beat Cross Creek. Earlier in the week, the Dogs also earned wins against Union County and Athens Christian School during duals at Athens Christian.
During the first dual of the Granite Duals against Social Circle, Nathan Lundy, Jacob McAlister, and Jeremy Worth earned victories against the Redskins. However, Social Circle won 53-13 over the Dogs and then went on to win the tournament, their fourth tournament win in a row.
“We wrestled them well, as a lot of the bouts were very good matchups,” said MCHS Head Wrestling Coach John Robbins.
Coach Robbins described the 47-36 win over Cross Creek as a “nail biter.” Dalton Fulcher, McAlister, Antonio Robinson, Dee Wright, Wyatt Martin, and Worth earned early wins in the close dual, but the team had to wait on wins by Zack Jenkins and Lundy before they could secure victory.
Morgan County then lost a close 34-36 dual to Chestatee with wins coming from Sean McElligott, McAlister, Martin, Martin, Worth, Jenkins, Lundy, and Martin. “We really let this one slip away,” said Coach Robbins.
“We missed a great chance at a few weights to major and pick up bonus points.” The Mat Dogs then lost their final dual of the day against Jackson County 29-46.
“We were really banged up going into this match and had to shuffle the lineup a bit,” said Coach Robbins about the Jackson County dual. Wright, Martin, Michael Rhodes, Jenkins, and Lundy earned their final wins of the tournament with victories over their Jackson County opponents.
“We are continuing to improve each match, and there are a lot of positive things we can focus on,” said Coach Robbins, summarizing the tournament as a whole. “As injury riddled as we are, I am particularly proud with the effort put forth by Rogers Burke, Antonioni Robinson, Michael Rhodes, and Billy Holtzclaw, who have all been forced into the lineup and have made the best of it.” Tuesday, Dec. 17, the Mat Dogs traveled to Athens Christian School to engage in duals against Athens Christian and Union County.
The Dogs began with Union County, whom they beat 60-24 with wins by McElligott, Fulcher, Jacob McAlister, Jody McAlister, Luke Mitchell, Rogers Burke, Wright, Colin Efird, Lundy, and Martin. “Great dual for our guys versus a relatively new program,” said Robbins about the Union County dual. “ We were very close to sweeping this dual.”
Morgan County finished the day with a 48-30 win over Athens Christian. “Athens Christian is a really tough team, particularly considering the size of the school. We were lucky to escape with the win,” said Robbins.
Jody McAlister, Mitchell, Wright, Worth, Grubbs, Gibbs, Lundy, and Martin pulled off additional wins against Athens Christian. Unfortunately, Morgan County lost another starting wrester, Colin Efird, due to injury during the Athens Christian dual.
Efird suffered a severe shoulder injury, but Robbins did not indicate how long the injury may have Efird sidelined. “Right on the heels of losing Clayton Bearden, it certainly is going to hurt us going into the area and state dual series to lose another veteran,” began Robbins.
“We are crossing our fingers in hopes that he will be able to return by Savannah so that we can make another run at Macon in January.” On Dec. 28, the wrestling team will travel to Augusta to compete in Westside High School’s Border Wars.
Then the team will travel to New Hampstead High School in Savannah on Jan. 4 to defend the Region Duals Championship.