Cole Brock, Rock Hill High's 119-pound wrestler, was making his second straight start Tuesday after being in a backup role most of the season.
Now that he's on the first team, Brock made his pitch to stay there in the Bearcats' 38-28 Region 3-AAAA win over the South Pointe Stallions.
Brock, a junior, started a run of five straight Rock Hill wins that put the Bearcats up 38-15 with four matches remaining. South Pointe had a fighting chance, but had to score pins worth six points to win 39-38.
It didn't happen. South Pointe won all four, but managed only 13 points, nine on decisions and four on a major decision.
Rock Hill trailed 15-12 when Brock and South Pointe's Trey Barber met on the mat for their battle at 119 pounds. The Stallions had the momentum coming off one of the most anticipated matches of the night -- Jake Mitchell's 8-3 decision over Rock Hill's Seth Beck.
"He's a great wrestler,'' said Mitchell, a defending state champion. "He's really only lost four matches and each one against me. But I look forward to every time we wrestle. This should be a good rivalry for the next three years.''
Brock turned it in the Bearcats' favor with a 17-2 technical fall worth five points that go with it for a 17-12 Bearcats' lead.
"I knew what I had to do,'' Brock said. "We needed to get a win and get it going. I should have pinned him, but now that I'm a starter, I'm going to work hard to hold on to it.''
Following Brock's win, Rock Hill's Jake Grav pinned West Kellett, Rashard Durham pinned Andrew Gorospe, Chad Beck pinned James Roach and Reggie Jeffcoat capped the five-win run with a hard-fought 10-6 decision over Chip Barnes.
"I had to win, but we still knew it wasn't over because South Pointe could get four pins and beat us by a point,'' Jeffcoat said. "This is going to be a great rivalry for years to come. I'm a senior and won't be a part of it, but I'll be there to watch.''
The streak ended at 145 pounds. But even though Rock Hill's Chase Ballard lost to South Pointe's Colt Gilliam, the 11-5 decision gave the Stallions only three points and assured the Bearcats' win.
"Not taking anything away from South Pointe, but we were flat tonight,'' Rock Hill coach Cain Beard said. "We seemed to have regressed, fell back to where we were at the start of the season.
"We let South Pointe hang around. You can't do that and beat a good team. That's what we were doing when the season started.''
A 10-point margin is respectable and strengthened the stance that wrestling is alive and healthy in this area. Rock Hill (22-1) is ranked No. 4 in Class AAAA and South Pointe (4-2) No. 7.
And it was a close match. The Bearcats and Stallions split the 14 weight classes and the difference was obvious. Rock Hill had six pins, the others two coming from Jody Helms at 215, Weston Beck at 103.
South Pointe scored pins in two of the first three matches, Jeff Sturgis at 189 and Ramone Truesdale at heavyweight, but that was it for the night.
"I figured we'd split the matches, that it would be 7-7,'' South Pointe coach Eddie Cook said. "The key for them was that our young guys were on their backs and got pinned. I feel like a lot of them are so young that they didn't realize what was at stake.''
At stake was region positioning. Rock Hill moved to 3-0 and goes to No. 15 Northwestern on Thursday. South Pointe fell to 2-1 and wrestles at No. 5 Fort Mill.
(Starting draw was 189 pounds)
103 -- Weston Beck (RH) pin Sean Hira, :42, 3rd. 112 -- Jake Mitchell (SP) dec. Seth Beck, 8-3. 119 -- Cole Brock (RH) tech. fall Trey Barber, 17-2. 125 -- Jake Grav (RH) pin West Kellett, 1:23, 2nd. 130 -- Rashard Dunham (RH) pin Andrew Gorospe, :30.2, 2nd. 135 -- Chad Beck (RH) pin James Roach, :10.6, 2nd. 140 -- Reggie Jeffcoat (RH) dec. Chip Barnes, 10-6. 145 -- Colt Gilliam (SP dec., Chase Ballard, 11-5. 152 -- Jon Murdock (SP) dec. Josh Tuck, 7-6 OT. 160 -- Eddie George (SP) dec. maj. dec. Richard Lee, 10-2. 171 -- Will Smith (SP) dec. Nick Brown, 10-7. 189 -- Jeff Sturgis (SP) pin Joey Berry, :50.8, 1st. 215 -- Jody Helms (RH) pin Donnie Grase, :01, 2nd. Hwt. -- Ramone Truesdale (SP) pin Josh tucker, 1:15, 1st.
Records: Rock Hill 22-1, 3-0; South Pointe 4-2, 2-1