Cooper goes for takedown

Madison County heavyweight Hamilton Cooper goes for a takedown during a recent dual with Habersham Central. Cooper starts the season 5-0 with two dual victories and three wins at the Buford Invitational, including the 285-lb championship.

Madison County dove into the 2019-20 wrestling season Saturday at the always-competitive Buford Invitational.

The Red Raiders finished seventh out of 17 schools with three first place finishers (Josh Kincaid, Jaxson Hoetzel and Hamilton Cooper). Woodward Academy won the event with a pair of first place finishers and four runners-up. Buford and Lassiter rounded out the top three.

Kincaid (132 lbs.) won the tournament with four pin fall victories Saturday. Two of his matches ended before reaching a minute.

Kincaid opened the tournament by pinning Loganville's Michael Berardinelli in 43 seconds and followed that win with a 46-second pin over Daniel Mejia. Kincaid's last two matches were more competitive.

He trailed Andrew Adams from Lowndes 10-3 late in the third period before scoring three points on an escape and takedown. Adams conceded a point by stalling, but got the point back with an escape and led 11-7. Kincaid won the bout on a late takedown. After two near falls put Kincaid ahead 13-11 in point, he finally scored a pin fall victory moments before the buzzer.

Kincaid had an easier time with Mt. Pisgah's Joey Bertrand. He fell behind 2-0 early after a takedown, but dominated the rest of the match and pinned Bertrand early in the third period.

Hoetzel (195 lbs.) also swept the tournament with pin falls, but none of his matches were close. A violation late in the first period was his only flaw against Johns Creek's T.J. Radford. He came out of the break on fire and scored the pin early in the second period. An early takedown of Buford's Aaron Kirkland led to a quick pin fall in round two and he won a long, but lopsided match with Woodward Academy's Brandon Smith in the championship round.

Cooper (285 lbs.) didn't score any pin falls, but he never allowed a punt through two matches Saturday. After a first period stalemate with Forsyth Central's Darius Green, Cooper scored five points in the second period via two near falls. He started the third period on the bottom but quickly scored two more points with a reversal. He won by a 7-0 decision.

Cooper battled Woodward's Robert Joseph to another 0-0 first period in the finals before five near falls gave him a 14-0 lead after two periods. An escape seconds into the third period allowed him to win by a 15-0 technical decision.

Chase Bond (152 lbs.) and Mattox Hinsley (126 lbs.) also stood on the podium at the end of the day. Bond finished fourth after entering as the No. 3 seed and advancing on two forfeits. He lost his third round match by pin fall and his third place match by a 3-1 decision.

Hinsley started the tournament with a 10-1 major decision loss, but he bounced back with two victories in the consolation bracket. His victory in the fifth place match was a first period pin fall.


A pin fall by Bond with just eight seconds on the clock propelled Madison County to a 37-36 win over Habersham Central in the Red Raiders' second dual of the season. 

The dome erupted when Bond scored the victory. Down 36-31 going into his match, the Red Raiders needed the six points from a pin fall to win.

Madison County trailed 36-7 with only five matches left. The seven points came from Jaxson Hoetzel (major decision, 16-4) and Hamilton Cooper (decision, 4-3). Kincaid started the rally with a forfeit to cut the score to 36-13. Jubilee Sey and Rowan Smith each won by pin fall and Casey Lovelace also won by forfeit to grind Habersham's lead down to 36-31.


Madison County started the season slowly against Walnut Grove by losing 48-32. Kincaid, Smith, Lovelace, Bond, Hoetzel and Cooper were the only winners.


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