Nothing like a nice dual to get people into holiday spirit.
Including Madison County, 10 teams will take to four mats Saturday in this year’s Raider Duals in Danielsville.
The field comprises Elbert County, Commerce, Athens Christian, Stephens County, Norcross, Greenbriar, Lakeside (Evans), Cedar Shoals and Clarkston.
Raider coach Richie Houston pegs Commerce as the early favorite heading into the tournament.
“I think Commerce will be one of the top one or two teams in Class A this year,” Houston said. “They’ll probably be the team to beat. Everybody else, I think, is kind of on an even par after that. We’ll have to see how it goes.”
Houston said he added Augusta-area schools Greenbriar and Lakeside (Evans) to the tournament, “to kind of see some people we never see.”
Meanwhile, Clarkston hails from the Atlanta area.
“We never have seen them before, so that will be different for us,” Houston said.
Madison County finished third in last year’s tournament.
Admission is $7. The first round starts at 9:30 a.m.
The finals are expected to take place around 4:30 p.m. or 5 p.m.
The hope is to draw a good crowd and, in turn, a good gate.
“We’re hoping so,” Houston said. “It’s the last Saturday before Christmas, so we’re hoping to have a good turnout.”
Preparing for this tournament is always a hectic process, the coach said.
“Yes, sir,” Houston said. “We feel like we have to do 10 things at one time.”
Raider wrestlers impress coach again in tourney
Madison County’s wrestling team had another better-than-expected showing, finishing sixth out of 12 teams in Saturday’s “Rumble in the Jungle” at Wheeler High School.
“I think everybody was pretty well pleased, considering we’re so young and everything,” Raider coach Richie Houston said. “I was pleased.”
Madison County finished 12th out of 24 teams in the Jackson County the previous weekend.
The Wheeler tournament included several Atlanta-area schools that Madison County rarely encounters. The Raiders went 3-2 in the event, losing to Blessed Trinity (54-20), and beating Pope (51-30), Campbell (72-12) and Lakeside, Evans (42-33) before losing to South Paulding, 64-15, in a match for fifth-place.
Cody Phillips had the best day, according to Houston, with a 4-1 mark in the 112-lb. class. Kyle Bates (140) also went 4-1. Chris Savage (145), Colton Phillips (119) and Issac Smith (152) all went 3-2.
Madison County went into the tournament coming off a close loss to Loganville, 40-27, on Dec. 9.
“It kind of see-sawed back and forth,” Houston said.
The scales tipped in Loganville’s favor at the end when Madison County lost at 160-lb. and then forfeited the 171-lb. match.
“Those 12 points at the end kind of really hurt us,” Houston said. “But it was a good tight dual and I think they’re (Loganville) a good young team and everybody is predicting a lot out of them. So I thought we wrestled well.”
Cody Phillips (112), Colton Phillips (119), Michael Kilpatrick (130), Savage (145), Smith (152) and Tyler Adams (215) all won matches against the Red Devils.