Photo by Staff Photo: Jason Braverman

Photo by Staff Photo: Jason Braverman

SUWANEE -- Whenever his Brandon wrestling team needs a big win in a close dual meet, Joe Cozart will point to the name across his singlet.

He made the gesture on Wednesday at the Kyle Maynard Duals.

Cozart pinned Collins Hill's Jamie Hertica in the first period to swing the momentum in favor of the Tampa, Fla., school. His teammates added two more decisions to give Brandon a 34-24 win in a battle of nationally ranked teams in the finals of the Kyle Maynard Duals.

"The guys look up to me a lot. They need a captain to lead them and I did what I had to do," said Cozart, who is headed to Iowa State. "Every time we get in a close dual meet and I come out on top, you have to put it up for Brandon, the home town."

Brandon is ranked No. 6 in the nation and is the nine-time defending Florida state champion. The Eagles are best know for "The Streak" they put together from 1973 to 2008 when it set national records for longest winning streak (459) and unbeaten streak (468). Brandon hasn't lost a match since January 2008 and now has a modest 52-match winning streak after winning the Kyle Maynard Duals.

"I thought it would be close," Brandon coach Russ Cozart said. "They are a good team and they match up with us good."

"There's a lot of people saying we were absolutely going to get blown out," Collins Hill coach Cliff Ramos said. "I think we got ourselves credibility to wrestle with the best."

Collins Hill, the two-time defending Georgia state champions and nationally No. 21, kept the dual close until Cozart's pin with two matches remaining. Pins were the big difference with Brandon recording four to Collins Hill's one.

"They are strong everywhere," Ramos said. "Cozart is probably their best, but golly, they are strong everywhere."

Mike Ettore, one of Brandon's four returning state champions, pinned Collins Hill's Mac Bennett at 189 pounds late in the first period for a 6-0 lead.

Collins Hill's C.J. Collins, a state runner-up last season, cut the deficit in half with a 3-2 overtime win. An escape from Zach Baldwin, a state champion in Alaska last season who transferred to Brandon, in the fourth overtime period gave Collins the win.

"That was big," Ramos said. "There was a lot of strategy that went into that match."

Collins Hill's Thomas Delain lost a 4-1 decision at 285 pounds, but Drew Ferguson came back with a big pin. The sophomore pinned Victor Fugate at 103 pounds late in the first period to tie the match 9-9.

"That was big, I was real proud of him," Ramos said.

Defending state champion Bazell Partridge gave Collins Hill its first lead. The junior took down Terry Dawson with 50 seconds left in the match for a 4-2 victory and a 12-9 advantage for Collins Hill.

Rossi Bruno regained the lead for Brandon with a major decision. Collins Hill's Joseph Doyague took down the defending state champion and then Bruno went to work for an 18-6 victory.

Brandon forfeited to Collins Hill's T.J. Mitchell, a two-time state champion, and Collins Hill once again led 18-13 halfway through the dual.

"This is a dual meet and you got to try and win the dual meet, you know?" Russ Cozart said. "I saw some things in their lineup that maybe we could exploit, and T.J. Mitchell's reputation proceeds himself. He's an outstanding guy. We're on the road, a great crowd for them, it's a good win for us with a hostile crowd."

Steven Brautmueller had Brandon's Kevin Norstrem on his back in the second period, but he couldn't pull off the pin at 130 pounds. Norstrem worked his way to a 13-8 win and Tyler Liberatore followed with a third period pin over Collins Hill's Devante Brown to give Brandon a 22-18 lead.

"If he calls that pin we lose 31-30 to the No. 6 team in the nation," Ramos said. "But if, if, if. I'm happy with their performance. Winning six matches against them is a good showing and we won close matches. We didn't lose matches we should have won. We did well."

Allen Willard kept the dual close with a 3-1 decision. In a battle of defending state champions, Collins Hill's Joel Smith held off Clark Glass for a 3-2 win and gave Collins Hill a 24-22 lead.

Cozart's first-period pin of Hertica at 152 pounds gave Brandon a four-point lead with two matches left. Wally Figaro followed with an 8-1 win over Patrick Riley to seal the win at 160 pounds and Kyle Koziel beat Nick Holbert 8-4 to finish the dual.

"It just shows us where we're at," Smith said of a 10-point loss to the No. 6 team in the nation. "We have to go back to practice and work even harder with a loss under our belt and this is all motivation to take state, the Final Four and PowerAde. We have a lot of stuff to come back and wrestle harder for."