SALISBURY — North Surry improved to 9-0 by beating a couple of teams it could face again in the 2A state wrestling playoffs.
The Greyhounds topped Salisbury and Piedmont in a tri-match Tuesday night.
Salisbury was the top team in the individual playoffs a couple of years ago, and Piedmont won the dual-team title last spring, noted Coach Eric Jessup.
In fact, Piedmont ruined what looked to be a very promising year for the Hounds.
After the first round of the playoffs, the Hounds were sitting at 34-1 with several wrestlers individually ranked in the top 10 for their weight classes.
Then North and Piedmont split the 14 weights 7-7. Piedmont managed four pins to North’s two and pulled out a 33-30 win.
Jessup said he wanted a chance to see the Panthers during the regular season as a stiff challenge for a young team. Piedmont is based in Monroe, so Salisbury was a nice midway point and another good challenge.
The coach warned his team that these contests could come down to the final matches, and every point would count.
He was true to his word as the Hounds squeaked out a 34-33 win over Piedmont to go with a more comfortable 49-24 win over Salisbury.
With a one-point victory, nearly every wrestler has a hand in providing the win.
Cesar Cardosa is a rookie who has been wrestling for all of four weeks, noted Jessup. He lost a one-sided match for a technical fall, but that still saved one point over being pinned, he pointed out.
Devyn Green lost a close 4-0 decision, but that only gave the Panthers three points.
Corbin Bullins was flipped on his back twice and could have given up, Jessup said. Instead, he fought his way back over and didn’t give up a pin. He lost 11-0, but saved two points.
It’s like in football when the defense makes a goal-line stand to force the offense to kick a field goal. Even though the offense scored, the defense saved four points.
Piedmont’s Stephen Black was ranked all last year, and Tristen Brannock not only got a decision win, he won 10-2. The major decision earned the Hounds four points instead of three.
The Panthers only earned three falls in the match, and two of those came to returning state champions Dylan Nelson and Parker Von Egidy.
After Von Egidy pinned Dalton Golden, the Hounds were down two points with three matches left.
Levi Slate beat Bryce Braswell, the eighth-ranked wrestler in 2A. The 5-1 decision gave the Hounds a one-point lead.
Levi’s younger brother Cody stepped up big and earned a 7-3 decision for a four-point lead.
The whole match came down to a freshman at heavyweight.
Jessup told Austin Akers to stay off his back. He didn’t have to win the match, just not get pinned or heavily out-pointed.
Akers never gave up his back or even a takedown in a 1-0 loss to Vassar Strickland for just three team points.
Against Salisbury, the Hounds took nine of the 14 weight classes.
Getting pins were Austin McMillian, Tristen Brannock, Devyn Green, Levi Slate and Cody Slate.
Corbin Bullins had an 8-7 decision win. Austin Collins earned a 14-6 major decision. Saige Wolfe and Austin Rozier drew forfeits.
North Surry travels to South Stokes this Saturday for the Joe Via Invitational Tournament.