LYONS — After losing in the first round of the Class AA state duals, Greater Atlanta Christian battled back to finish third.
The Spartans defeated Banks County 40-19 in the consolation finals at Toombs County on Saturday.
“We were one match away from losing to Morgan County and would have been top 12,” GAC coach Jeff Harsh said. “After we beat them, we thought we had a good shot.”
It was the first time GAC has qualified for the state duals in the 10-year history of the tournament. The Spartans made it a memorable tourney with a third-place trophy. After losing to state power Jefferson 55-9, who won the title for the 10th time, GAC reeled off five straight wins.
The Spartans defeated East Laurens 64-8, Morgan County 38-33, Cook County 41-26 and Lovett 40-24 to reach the consolation finals.
State runner-up Zach Feuerbach’s win at 160 pounds in the final match against Morgan County secured the win. The victory over Lovett was the first in school history over the Lions.
Feuerbach was undefeated at 6-0. Jared Hemmings, a state runner-up last week, was 5-1 along with Will Hemby and Caleb Bumpers.
“I’m really proud of the team,” Harsh said. “It wasn’t just one or two kids that did it for us. We are a much better dual team than traditional. It was a whole team effort.”
The third-place trophy caps an impressive year for the Spartans, who finished with a 21-8 record. GAC placed eighth at the Gwinnett County tournament, its highest finish ever. It also placed 10th at last week’s traditional state tournament after finishing 25th a year ago.
With all the success, GAC could be better next season. It only graduates one senior in Hemmings.
“We really exceeded our expectations this year,” Harsh said.