Photos: David McGregor. Brookwood's Greg Cordle turns Grayson's Ryan Johnson to his back during the second period of the 152-pound match at the 8-AAAAA area dual finals Saturday afternoon at Grayson.
LOGANVILLE-- A wrestling season that had gone mostly according to script took an unexpected twist in Saturday's Area 8-AAAAA duals tournament at Grayson.
Parkview, winner of six consecutive area duals titles, lost its semifinal to Grayson and failed to qualify for state for the first time since duals competition began in 2002. Instead, it's Brookwood who'll compete in next weekend's state championships as first-time area champion, and Grayson, who'll also head to the Macon Centreplex as runner-up.
Brookwood, state qualifiers in 2005 and '07, clinched the title Saturday by beating Grayson 39-22 in the final, thanks to pins by 140-pound Lane Fincher, 152-pound Greg Cordle and heavyweight Vinny Ogbonnia. The deciding match was Brookwood junior Sean Thomas' 13-2 victory over Grayson's Hunter Robertson, which gave the Broncos an insurmountable 36-6 lead with four bouts remaining.
Thomas (14-3) had pinned Robertson in the consolation final of the Brookwood Invitational, and was glad his victory helped lift the Broncos to 22-2 in duals this year with losses only to West Forsyth.
"I wanted a pin, but I'm glad a major (decision) was good enough to seal it," Thomas said. "I controlled the match fairly well from neutral (position) and was able to get a couple near falls that helped a lot."
As winners of Northview's Titan Duals, their own Brookwood Invitational and now area duals, Brookwood coach Chris Cicora said his Broncos are invigorated approaching Tuesday's seeding meeting to determine their first-round state opponent. Cicora said the key to winning area was keeping intensity against Grayson, after beating South Gwinnett 44-27 and Dacula 30-22.
"We came out (Saturday) with good intensity and got the first takedown most of the time," Cicora said. "That captured the momentum of most of our matches."
Grayson, the area's second state qualifier the last two seasons, beat Central Gwinnett 50-21 and Parkview 33-27 to reach the final against Brookwood. Grayson got help from Parkview, whose victory over Dacula ruined the Falcons' opportunity for a showdown with the Rams for the area's second qualifying spot. Only once wrestling concluded did Rams coach Mike Stephen realize the gravity of dethroning Parkview.
"Everything went our way in that one," he said of avenging a loss to the Panthers earlier this season. "(Beating Parkview) was a major goal of ours, one you prepare all year for."