LEXINGTON -- Trailing Lexington with six matches remaining, Rock Hill's Rashard Durham had one thought on his mind as he stepped on the mat at the Wildcats' gym.
It was simple and to the point.
"I felt like I had to get the win to get the momentum in our favor," Durham said.
Not only did his 3-2 victory over Zach Kennedy turn the momentum, it helped change a close dual into a rout as the Bearcats rolled to a 39-21 victory Monday night in the quarterfinals of the Class AAAA Upper State wrestling tournament.
"The turning point certainly was when Rashard was able to eke out the win at 130," Rock Hill's first-year coach Cain Beard said. "That really started us on a roll, and from that point forward we never looked back."
Rock Hill (28-2) advances to the semifinals and a rematch with region rival Fort Mill. The Yellow Jackets knocked off Hillcrest 37-21 Monday night. The Bearcats lost the region championship in a 32-26 setback just a couple of weeks ago.
Durham was tied at 1 late in the third period when he was able to score a takedown on Kennedy with less than 30 seconds remaining. Kennedy managed to escape just before the final horn but the pendulum had already turned.
Chad Beck, ranked No. 3 at 135 pounds, followed with a pin one minute and 42 seconds into the his match with Zach Heape that gave the Bearcats a 23-21 lead that they would never relinquish.
"I knew I had to get us six points right there," Beck said. "Once Rashard got the win, it gave me extra motivation to give us the lead because I knew we had some good guys coming after me."
In fact, Rock Hill didn't lose again as it got decisions from Reggie Jeffcoat, Chase Ballard and Josh Tuck to seal the match before Cory Tretskii put an exclamation point on it with a pin at 160.
"We knew it was going to be a battle," Cain said of his sixth-ranked Bearcats against fifth-ranked Lexington. "As the case in most dual matches, we got more pins than they did, and it paid off. I think once things got rolling in our favor, things just snowballed."
Things didn't start out so well for Rock Hill. The match started at the 171-pound weight class and the Wildcats' Kraig Crawford scored a first-period pin. Steven Dorrell followed with a technical fall and the Bearcats were in a quick 11-0 deficit.
Lexington forfeited at 215, and that allowed Beard to move John Helms to heavyweight, where he scored a 22-7 technical fall victory.
Weston Beck earned a 2-0 victory at 103 before Lexington (25-10) came back with three straight wins to take the 21-14 lead. That's when Durham's late heroics turned the tide.
As Beard was talking to his team, he found out that the Bearcats would get another crack at Fort Mill, and he quickly added one quick thought to his squad before they prepared to exit.
"It's a chance at redemption," Beard said. "That's all we could ask for, and now let's go make the most of it."