Lightest Gators come through in clutch
In the halls of Goose Creek High School, it wouldn’t be difficult to look right past Allen Moran and Brandon Washington.
At 106 and 113 pounds, they are among the smallest of the students roaming those halls. They certainly don’t appear to be athletic heroes.
But they are because wrestling gives them that opportunity.
The lightest Gators, Moran and Washington, recorded pins in the final two matches Monday night at GCHS, capping a furious Goose Creek rally as the Gators captured the city wrestling championship with a 38-26 win over rival Stratford High School.
“If kids understand that (wrestling) is their potential then it could be their sport,” GCHS coach Leonard Covington said. “A lot of the smaller kids go out for football and ride the bench for four years. They could come out for wrestling and really compete. My goodness, it doesn’t get any better than this.”
The crowd was frenzied heading into the home stretch.
The Knights had won three city titles in a row before the Gators came back from a 26-17 deficit in the final four matches. The win also gave Goose Creek a second-place finish in Region 7-AAAA heading into the playoffs, which begin Feb. 8. Stratford finished third in Region 7.
Wando was the Region 7 champion.
After Stratford’s T.J. Deveaux recorded a pin in the 195-pound match, the Knights led 26-17.
The two heaviest Goose Creek wrestlers set the stage for Moran and Washington. Mason Palmer earned a pin in the 220-pound match and Moises Gallegos edged Daniel Dees 2-1 in the heavyweight bout.
Moran, a junior, then broke the tie and Washington, a senior, iced it.
“They are really really solid performers,” Covington said. “They’ve been in our program for four years and are great leaders. They are good students. We’re proud of them.”
Moran is 17-0 and Washington 14-1 this winter.
The Knights finish the dual season 15-8, while Goose Creek ends up 13-3.
“It’s been three years and they’ve beaten us pretty good each of the last three years,” Covington said. “I felt like we had a chance tonight if certain things would happen. Our first five was huge. We thought instead of touchdowns, give them field goals. It worked out that way and plus we won two of the matches, which we weren’t expecting.”
The match began at 120 pounds and Goose Creek’s Justin Grassmeyer (120) and Stratford’s Ross Johnson (126) each won decisions, followed by major decisions by Goose Creek’s Chris Theriot (132) and Stratford’s Kemp Shider (138).
Michael Stickney’s pin at 145 and Billy Ackerman’s decision at 152 gave Stratford a 16-7 lead before Goose Creek’s Caleb Rubin won a major decision at 160 pounds.
At 171 pounds, Stratford’s J.D. Harrelson recorded a major decision, which was countered by Goose Creek’s Travae Hines’ pin at 182 pounds.
Deveaux earned the last points for the Knights with his pin in the 195-pound match.
“I felt like if it came down to (Moran and Washington), we could get (Stratford),” Covington said.