McDONALD

Jefferson's Chaz McDonald tries to move in for a pin in the Dragons' region duals win over Chestatee Friday (Jan. 15). 

Jefferson hadn’t wrestled in nearly a month and took out that restlessness on its region duals opponents.

The Dragons routed Chestatee 76-6 and Flowery Branch 58-12 Friday (Jan. 15) at home to win the 8-AAAA dual tournament.

“We’ve just been out for so long, our guys were anxious to wrestle,” said Jefferson coach Kyle Baird, whose team hadn’t taken the mat since Dec. 17. “We’re in great shape. It’s hard for us to get tired right now … I couldn’t have asked for a better day.”

Jefferson will now move on to the state sectionals where it will host one of the eight sectional quads Friday (Jan. 22, 6 p.m.).

The Dragons will wrestle Fayette County in the first round. Should Jefferson win, it will meet the winner of Miller Grove and Pickens.

If Jefferson wins the quad, it will advance to the Class AAAA state tournament (Jan. 30), which the Dragons will also host.

“We don’t have to leave home,” Baird said. “That’s the most important part … The kids like wresting here. They get good rest. It doesn’t get any better for us right now.”

As for the region duals, Jefferson lost just three bouts in the finals win against Flowery Branch, one of which was a forfeit. Meanwhile, the Dragons earned bonus points in 10 of its 11 victories over the Falcons, including pins from Chaz McDonald (106), Davis Dendy (132), Mason Mingus (138), Hoke Poe (152), Avery Nelms (182), Cannon McKinney (195) and Colton Steele (285).

In their tournament-opening rout of Chestatee, the Dragons’ lone loss came via forfeit. Other than that, they picked up 11 pins and a major decision, along with a forfeit victory.

Those winning by pin fall were McDonald (106), Dane Johnson (120), Tyson Thurmond (126), Mingus (138), Ayers Honiotes (145), Poe (152), Creed Thomas (160), Luke Cochran (170), Avery Nelms (182), McKinney (195) and Steele (285).

This marked the first time this season that Mingus, McDonald and Steele have wrestled. Meanwhile, Poe returned after not having wrestled since November.

Baird expressed confidence moving forward.

“If we keep wrestling like that, we’re going to be tough to beat by anybody,” he said. “We’re pretty well-stacked from the bottom to the top. And we’re just now getting kids back.”

Still, Baird said there are certainly areas to clean up.

“Some kids got beat (Friday), and we’ve got something to work for,” he said. “We didn’t have a really good idea of what we needed to do, and now we do. Kids made some mistakes and got taken down and gave up some points. So we’ve got some things to correct and get better.”

Baird added, “They may not think that sometimes, but there’s always room to be better than what you were the last time.”

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