DOBSON — Halfway through Surry Central’s wrestling match with West Stokes, the Golden Eagles trailed 27-12.
The Eagles rushed back to tie the match at 36-all, then won a bonus point on criteria for a 37-36 win Tuesday.
“We are the walking dead right now,” said Coach Stephen Priddy shortly before the match started.
Between sickness and injuries, Central was missing four starters: Mason Snow (126), Uriel Secundino (132), Hunter White (182) and Humberto Moreira (220). Those four have combined for 76 wins on the season.
Priddy said Moreira wouldn’t be back this season, and White is iffy with a rib injury.
The Wildcats’ three best wrestlers are in the lower half of the lineup: George Patrick, Jacob Widner and Holden Sands. Then the match began at 106 lbs., so that gave the Cats an early advantage.
Central’s Nathon Bautista received a forfeit at 106. Then West’s Patrick pinned Garrett Johnson in the first period at 113.
With Mason out at 126, and West without a 120-pounder, Priddy bumped Kevin Pack up to 126 and allowed a double-forfeit at 120.
Pack then answered with a 49-second pin of Landon Oehman to give Central an early 12-6 lead.
At 132, Central forfeited to Widner.
In arguably the best match of the night, Central’s Raymond Dance went against Sands. Sands got two early takedowns, but Dance escaped both times.
When given a choice, Dance took bottom, looking to get another escape and make the score 4-3. However, Sands was able to flip him over for a near-fall and went on to win 7-4.
That put West Stokes in the lead for the first time 15-12.
At 145, West’s Nick Wall pinned Tyler White in second period. Then Nick Velazquez pinned Dallas Snow in first. That made it 27-12 with only six weights left.
Considering the Eagles were giving up a forfeit at 220, that meant the home team needed to make up 21 points in just five matches.
At 160, Zack Martin controlled his match with Josh Adkins. Martin was up 13-1 when he flipped Adkins over for a near-fall, then started picking up back time points.
Martin finished off the pin, but if Adkins had been able to get back onto his belly, that would have ended the match in a technical fall, noted Priddy. That would have given the Eagles only five points instead of six. In such a close match, that could have been the deciding factor.
A scary moment happened in the 170 match.
On senior night, senior Calvin Inman was down 5-0 to Derrick Drane when he pulled off a reversal, drawing a roar from his teammates.
Then Inman was able to flip Drane over and get a pin as the crowd and bench erupted.
As Inman pulled back, however, Drane was motionless on the mat.
In the pin, Drane might have suffered a pinched nerve in his neck, emergency workers on the scene estimated. He was immobilized on a back board and taken out to an ambulance. He was transported to Forsyth Medical Center, with his condition unknown at press time.
When the match resumed, West Stokes was ahead 27-24 with four weights left.
Central’s Alex Hernandez (182) lost to Matt Craver, but he kept the score close in a 12-10 decision that only gave the Cats three points for a 30-24 score.
At 195, Bryant White took Caleb Costner out in 48 seconds to tie the match at 30-all.
However, the forfeit at 220 put West back up 36-30.
Central’s Wes Brown pinned Jacob Wagoner in a minute and a half to tie it 36-all.
Priddy said this was the 96th team win for this group of seniors, three of whom have been starters all four years: Wes Brown, Raymond Dance and Mason Snow.
He said he was proud of the win by Inman.
“Calvin is the heart of the team,” he said. “He gives it everything.”
Before the start of the match, Priddy asked the crowd for a moment of silence for the loss of a member of the area’s wrestling family.
Austin Macemore was a four-year athlete in both wrestling and soccer for Starmount. He battled cancer, but still graduated last summer. He passed away early Tuesday morning.
As a junior at 103 lbs., Macemore won 20 matches, but Priddy said the young man was an even better human being than wrestler.
“He was just an awesome kid,” he told the crowd. “I had a chance to talk to him several times, and he was a really good person.”
Macemore capped his high school career by earning the “Heart of a Champion” award from the N.C. High School Athletic Association last year, given to student-athletes who “demonstrate outstanding sportsmanship.”
Over the weekend, more than 1,100 walkers — and even more spectators — braved the icy conditions to take part in the Race More for Macemore 5K in Yadkinville to raise money for the family’s medical bills.
Some information for this story was provided by The Elkin Tribune.