FORT MILL-- Region 3-AAAA champion Fort Mill won the honor of hosting the first round of the state playoffs, as it crushed the Mauldin Mavericks 49-25 Monday night at Fort Mill High School.
The beginning of the match could not have gone any better for the Yellow Jackets. Unlike most sports, where starting lineups are known ahead of time and players generally have an idea when they'll play, wrestling draws one of the 14 weight classes and proceeds in that order.
With a couple of experienced wrestlers injured for Fort Mill, starting at the 189 weight class provided some of the more talented competitors' first look at the matt. The first four battles ended with Fort Mill pins, usually in lightning-quick time.
Jordan Griffin opened the match with a quick pin of Maverick McKenzie Brahal only eight seconds in, and the next three Jackets pretty much followed suit.
Cody Cunningham, Garrett Passatorre, and Germaine Truesdale each dominated their matches and put Fort Mill ahead 24-0 four rounds into the match.
With a little breathing room and a more relaxed sideline, Fort Mill's younger wrestlers took center stage without the pressure of a close match.
Usual starters John Green and Mac Wells were both out of the lineup due to injuries, allowing freshman Ryan Dugus to show a glimpse of the future of the Fort Mill wrestling program.
Dugus weighed in at the 119 class and fought toe-to-toe with Mauldin's Devin Turner. Although Dugus fell to Turner, he kept the mistakes to a minimum and lasted the entire three rounds.
It resulted in a minor decision for the Mavericks, but Dugas kept from getting pinned. During the final two-minute period, Dugas was in danger of getting pinned on multiple occasions, but each time battled back like an experienced pro.
Fort Mill improves to 18-3 and advances to face White Knoll on Wednesday night at 7 p.m. at Fort Mill High School. The Jackets ended Maulden's season with a 24-14 record.
• ROCK HILL 45, BOILING SPRINGS 24 -- The Rock Hill Bearcats fell behind early in the opening round of the playoffs against Boiling Springs before taking command to win on their home mat.
Rock Hill, a No. 2 seed, will travel to Greenwood on Wednesday to take on the Eagles in the second round.
Rock Hill beat Boiling Springs earlier in the season. The Bulldogs won three matches the first time around. Monday night, Boiling Springs won five, although the last two came against backup Bearcats.
Rock Hill first-year coach Cain Beard saw the improvement Boiling Springs has made.
"Boiling Springs is much improved since we last saw them. You still have to wrestle the match," he said. "It's all about matchups. We started out kind of flat tonight."
The draw was at 152, sending Rock Hill's Josh Tuck to the mat to face Patrick Yib. Yib scored an escape to tie the match late in the third period and then won the match with a takedown.
At 160, Rock Hill's Richard Lee battled to a 4-4 tie until his opponent, Alex Birchfield, was awarded back points as time expired in the final period to win a 7-4 decision. Boiling Springs led 6-0.
Rock Hill's Nick Brown won a 7-3 decision over Rob Green at 171. DeLeon Boulware scored a 6-3 win against Lucas Cox at 189 and the match was tied at 6-6.
Jody Helms swayed the momentum in Rock Hill's favor. Helms, a senior wrestling at 215, improved to 33-2 this season by pinning Jordan Williams. Helms nearly had the pin in the first period, but Williams was able to squirm out of Helms' cradle hold. Helms was close again in the second before sticking Williams with 1:11 left in the third period.
Rick Hill will face Greenwood in the second round on Wednesday.
• SOUTH POINTE 35, DORMAN 29 -- In Roebuck, South Pointe's wrestling team needed every match to eke out a road victory over Dorman.
The Stallions pulled out the win by taking over the upper weight classes. Of the six matches fought at 152 pounds and above, South Pointe won five, with Eddy George (160) and heavyweight Ramone Truesdale each earning pins. Jon Murdoch earned a major-decision victory at 152 pounds.
The win moves South Pointe's record up to 15-4. The Stallions will next wrestle at Lexington on Wednesday.
• HILLCREST 52, CLOVER 22 -- In Simpsonville, Hillcrest took care of business Monday night, rolling to a 52-22 victory over Clover in the first round of the Class AAAA state playoffs at A.C. Duckett Gymnasium.
The Clover-Hillcrest match began at 112 pounds, and Clover (10-6) was tied 22-22 after Zack Neubert won by decision at 160 pounds.
"They've got very good kids," Hillcrest coach Travis Bell said, "and we knew that coming in."
But the Rams won by forfeit at 171 and 189 and were too strong after that. Matt Broad and Wes Younts won with pins at 215 and 285, respectively. Then Zach Perdun capped the Rams' victory with a pin at 103.
"We just don't have quite the depth," Clover coach Mike Fitzgerald said. "But I'm proud of my guys. I think we gave them everything they could handle. These guys are gonna wrestle for the Upper State title, and if they win that, they'll be wrestling for a state title."