North Surry beat West Stokes by 20 points Friday, but gets another big challenge tonight with Surry Central.
The Greyhounds are an impressive 32-1 on the season, but as far as the Northwest Conference is concerned, the Golden Eagles are just behind them. Central (23-9) beat East Surry Friday and have just one loss in conference play.
If the Eagles win tonight, the teams would be tied in the standings, and the Eagles would hold the tiebreaker despite having lost to the Hounds previously this season in tournaments.
Central has been right at the top of the conference each of the past few years, noted North Coach Eric Jessup.
“I know they are going to be hungry, so we have to be hungrier,” Jessup said. “There’s nobody better than Stephen (Priddy) at coaching and motivating kids. He’s a great motivator. He’s going to have those boys up.”
Jessup and Priddy were teammates at Mount Airy and have remained close friends. Yet that friendship gets put on hold in these head-to-head meetings.
“They are peaking right now, I really think they are,” Jessup said of the Eagles. “Surry Central is really young this year, and it’s taken until this point in the season to get there.”
Central began the season with a respectable 14-7 mark, but has gotten even better since then. The Eagles are 9-2 in the past 11 matches, but both losses have come to the Greyhounds.
In fact, the two squads have met three times this season, and the Hounds have won all of them: 48-24, 56-18 and 50-27.
Jessup said he spoke to his guys Monday at practice about not getting overconfident and taking the meet one weight class at a time. He pointed out that the Eagles have more to lose and greater incentive to win.
The Northwest Conference only gets one automatic berth for the 2A playoffs. If the Hounds win, there is no guarantee that the Eagles will get one of the two wild cards for the region, which makes this match more significant.
And, with Austin Collins out at 145 with a sore knee, the Hounds are down one of their highest-ranked wrestlers.
Collins started the Hounds off with a win against West Stokes, and North had a huge lead before giving up the last three matches. Even then, Jessup noted that Squire Gregory and Dakota Key had leads in their matches before getting caught in some big moves.
Austin Riggs (195) came up big against Timothy Daniel (19-10). Daniel placed in the top eight at King of the Mat, the coach noted. Then right behind that, Zach Creed pinned Michael Schuler (17-9), taking down two of Wildcats’ four best wrestlers.
Tonight’s match at North Surry begins at 7 p.m.
Reach Jeff Linville at firstname.lastname@example.org or at 719-1920.