And while the Blue Devil coach is pleased to be moving on to the big show once again, he is concerned about some shaky spots in he lineup, including three consecutive upper-weight classes that gave up pins to the Hurricanes on Saturday.
“Monticello is a lot better than they were a year ago. They’re just pretty solid. We’ve got a lot of holes, and they exposed those holes. We’ve got to get some guys going and wrestling a full six minutes and that will help us,” Armas said. “We can’t afford [to give up pins]. We’ve got to learn to wrestle for six minutes and stay in matches and try to win some six-minute matches.”
Another local team took its best shot at joining Bremen in Macon next week, as Bowdon battled its way out of the consolation bracket to eventually challenge Monticello for that second state berth, falling 44-34 to close out an encouraging weekend for Red Devil coach Craig McWhorter.
Bowdon finished third in the area, avenging an early-season loss to Heard County (44-36) and then knocking off Jordan (45-36) to set up the third-place rematch with Spencer, which beat the Red Devils, 48-33, on Friday night.
This time, Spencer was penalized for using a wrestler in an ineligible weight class, putting a 145-pounder in a 132-pound match.
“We knew it was the wrong kid, because it wasn’t who we wrestled [Friday]. And then [Ben] Vance gets the pin in the last match. That was the deciding factor. I don’t really understand why the coach did it, but I knew it wasn’t the kid we wrestled the night before,” McWhorter said. “A win’s a win, but you’ve got to do it the right way.”
The Bowdon coach is pleased with the direction his young team is taking, noting that the third-place finish in the first year competing in Class AA comes on the heels of a fourth-place area finish last season in single-A.
“We had a lot of kids step up and wrestle hard. It’s one of those things that you don’t want to mention names because it was somebody different in every match. You know, against Spencer it was a little thing by our heavyweight. Stephen Strausser goes out there and he doesn’t get pinned and he earns us three points by it,” McWhorter said.
“A lot of kids had a great day. Hunter Jones wrestled with a broken nose all weekend. Avery [McWhorter] had a great weekend, Saeje [Brown] had a great weekend, Connor Wigginton had a great weekend, Trevor McCray had a good weekend. It’s just one of those things that in this situation, you’ve got to have all of them. And I felt real good and real proud of what we did. Just the effort for being still as young as we are.”
Bremen got solid efforts from its usual suspects on Saturday, with freshman Joseph Stroud starting the action with a pin at 145 pounds, which was followed by a pin from Kannon Madden at 152.
After the Blue Devils dropped a close decision at 160, Darron Boxley put the Blue Devils up 18-3 by getting a late pin in a match he was trailing at 170 pounds.
That’s where the drop-off came, as the Blue Devils gave up pins at 182, 195 and 220, putting them momentarily behind, 21-18, before senior heavyweight Joe Bexley recorded a pin of his own to put the Blue Devils back on top for good.
From there, Austin Capes earned an overtime victory at 106, Jacob Bumgardner won a decision at 120, Cory Morgan got a tech fall at 126, Brock Cooper won by pin at 132 and Tristan Williams won a decision at 138. Monticello forfeited its 113-pound weight class.
Armas said it will be interesting to see where his team winds up today at the Class AA seeding meeting in Thomaston. In most instances, the top four teams will be seeded in each classification and the remaining teams will be placed in the bracket via a random draw, according to the GHSA web site.
“I’m sure Jefferson will be the one seed and maybe we can get to the bottom side of the bracket and we might have a chance to win a dual meet or two in Macon,” Armas said.
As for his team’s first crack at Class AA, the Blue Devil coach said that fate will ultimately be decided this coming week.
“We’ll see. We haven’t really seen a lot of AA schools other than at area. But it’s going OK. About how I figured. A little tougher, but wrestling is wrestling. We’ll see what we can get done,” Armas said.