For the second straight season, the Sonoraville Firebirds walked away from the Class AAA State Duals in Macon with some Hardware.
Sonoraville battled back after a tough loss in the semifinals on Friday night to win their final two matches in convincing fashion over some talented teams and claim the third-place trophy for the second straight year.
“The kids once again pulled it together after a loss, came back and wrestled their butts’ of on Saturday,” said Sonoraville coach Randy Steward, who is in his second year leading the program. “I think the way they came out motivated and determined on Saturday is really important and shows what kind of kids these are. The loss to North Hall on Friday to knock us out of contention for the top spot was tough, and I was concerned how we could look on Saturday. But once first wasn’t an option anymore, we just re-focused on what the next best thing was and that was getting third. I told the kids that, and they listened. They competed hard, and we were able to win the third-place trophy again. I’m proud of them.”
For more photos from Sonoraville's trip to Class AAA State Duals, see Wednesday's Calhoun Times.
The Firebirds, who were coming off a second-place finish at Area 3-AAA Duals the previous weekend, opened the Class AAA State Duals bracket with a matchup against McNair and started the tournament with a bang, dominating them to the tune of a 51-19 victory to advance to the semifinals.
Sonoraville was then tasked with trying to stop a very talented North Hall team, and came up short with a 47-26 loss. The Trojans went on to claim the Class AAA State Duals title on Saturday with a 42-22 victory over Bremen.
“North Hall is a team that has five or six really good wrestlers, and the rest of their team is solid,” said Steward. “We didn’t win enough spots that we thought could’ve flipped the match. And we gave up too many pins. You just can’t do that against a team like North Hall. They got momentum, and once it got started, it was hard to stop it.”
Following the loss, the Firebirds fell into the consolation bracket where they faced Savannah Arts in a do-or-die matchup. Sonoraville came out on top with a 57-18 victory to advance to the third-place finals.
From there, Sonoraville finished the trip to Macon in fine fashion, knocking off Jackson County by a 46-21 score to claim the third-place trophy.
“It was a good day on Saturday,” said Steward. We would of course liked to be wrestling a couple hours later in the finals, but the way the kids bounced back and put up over 100 points in two matches was impressive. Jackson County had lost to Bremen on Friday night by only five points so they are a really good team. We felt like we matched up with them well, though, and our guys wrestled extremely well.”
Sonoraville had five wrestlers complete an undefeated individual mark during the State Duals by going 4-0. They were Tyler Hunt (132), Trevor Burdick (138), Hunter Wilson (152), Charlie Brown (170) and John Knight (195). Eli Knight was able to tally three wins in Macon at 106.
Finishing third once again was another step in the direction of being a dominant program in the state. Steward said it is all about consistency and building toward something special.
“We’ve talked about it before, you have to be consistently at the top to be a great program, and that’s where we want to be,” said Steward. “We went down to Macon wanting to win the whole thing, and we still have that goal for the future. But we competed hard against some of the best teams in the state.”
The Firebirds will now turn their attention to the traditionals portion of their schedule as wrestlers focus on their individual weight classes. Steward said he is looking forward to seeing how his team finishes the season with so many talented wrestlers.”
“I’m going to say it now, I think we are a better traditional team than those teams at State Duals,” said Steward. “I guess we’ll find out. That is the goal now is for the guys to focus on being the best individual wrestler they can be. We’ll start changing our training and practices to make sure we focus on that. I’m really excited about what we can do the rest of January and into February.”
Sonoraville is back in action on Friday and Saturday as they travel to Pickens High School for the Burnt Mountain Classic. Action on Friday starts at 5:30 p.m., and the Saturday schedule will get going at 9 a.m.
They will compete at the Area 3-AAA Traditional Tournament on Jan. 26-27 at Bremen High School with the top wrestlers advancing to Sectionals the following Saturday also at Bremen High.