Pepperell wrestling team

Pepperell's wrestling team celebrates winning the 2018 Floyd County Duals on Thursday at Coosa High School. The team defeated the three other county schools - Armuchee, Coosa and Model. / Contributed Photo

The Dragons came through mostly unscathed against its fellow county teams, dropping only one match to Coosa, two matches to Model and one to Armuchee.

“All of them did an outstanding job,” Pepperell head coach Joe Knight said of his wrestler. “Wrestling doesn’t come easy, and the ones that stick it out, I have the utmost respect for.”

The Dragons had five forfeits in the tournament stemming from holes in the team’s lineup, but Knight said he expects the team will really flourish when they get into the individual — or traditional —part of the season.

“It’s hard to win in duals if you’re giving up 30 points out of the gate,” Knight said. “I’m excited about the end of the duals season so we can concentrate on the individual part. We are pretty solid, we’re just missing so many holes. It’s just a grueling season. Kids get banged up and sick, and it’s a long time to hold it together.”

Having so many places to fill on his team’s lineup has forced Knight to hone his strategy as the season progresses, but the coach has seen his team step up to the challenge.

“We’re trying to figure out how to piece a lineup together,” Knight said. “We’ve been successful at doing it. We haven’t brought home nearly as much hardware as we have before, but we’ve placed in some tournaments.”

While Knight said the team’s success may be limited in duals competition, he has high expectations for the team individually at the state level.

“Seven kids in my opinion should not lose a match,” Knight said. “The kids that we count on to win matches — from 126 (pounds) to 195 — they’re not going to lose many. We’ll drop some, but not many.”

The Dragons travel to Lassiter High School today for a duals tournament and will compete in the Calhoun Duals next Saturday. The Area 5-AA Duals will be held Jan. 11-12 at Rockmart High School.