Not only were the mat Raiders good hosts over the weekend, they defended their home floor quite well, too.
Madison County placed third out of 11 teams in its own Raider Duals in Danielsville, finishing behind Commerce and Athens Christian.
Coach Richie Houston again praised his young team’s efforts.
“I think it was good,” Houston said. “For us to have such a young team, I think it was really good. The kids were excited and I think that nobody expected us to do that well …”
The Raiders went 4-1, with their only loss coming to the first-place Tigers, 42-27.
“(We’re) not where we want to be, but we’re doing good. Can’t complain,” Houston said.
Madison County defeated Stephens County, 42-41, in the third-place match, despite having to forfeit the final match in that dual. With the victory, the Raiders redeemed themselves for a loss earlier this year to the Indians.
“So that was positive, because they had beat us earlier,” Houston said.
The other victories came in more decisive fashion. Madison County whipped Elbert County, 62-15; Greenbrier, 50-20; and Cedar Shoals, 72-6.
A host of Raider wrestlers also went unbeaten in Saturday’s event. Cody Phillips, Colton Phillips, Kyle Bates, Michael Kilpatrick and Tyler Adams all finished with 5-0 records, according to Houston.
Madison County will now make its annual post-Christmas trek to the mountains to take part in the Cherokee, N.C., tournament being held Monday and Tuesday.
There, the Raiders will compete against teams from North Carolina, Virginia, West Virginia and Tennessee.
Madison County finished fifth in last year’s event.
Houston both grew up and went to college in North Carolina and has ties to the Cherokee area.
“My first coaching job was in Cherokee, so I still got a lot of people that I coached with there so it’s good to go back,” Houston said.
The way Houston describes it, Madison County’s wrestlers view the trip almost like a little vacation.
“We get a break,” Houston said. “They get to stay in a hotel over Christmas (holidays). The last couple years we had snow up there … It’s not too far from home,” Houston said.
NOTES: It was a big weekend for the entire wrestling program in Madison County. The county’s youth wrestling team held a beginners tournament Friday that Houston called, “very beneficial.” Then, on the Saturday, the high school program enjoyed a strong gate from its 11-team tournament. “We definitely made a couple thousand dollars profit, so that’s a good deal,” Houston said.