Valdosta wrestling

Valdosta High junior Rashard Brown pins Irwin County's Tony White during a wrestling match at the VHS gym Tuesday evening.

VALDOSTA — Valdosta High’s wrestling team won a pair of dual matches in its home opener, defeating Tift County and Irwin County.

The Wildcats, the defending Region 1-AAAAA dual champions, earned a convincing 56-20 victory over a solid Region 1 team in Tift. The victories improved the team’s record to 6-3, and 1-1 in the region.

“It was good to get a couple of wins,” Valdosta head coach Benjy Scarbor said. “This was our home opener, so it was nice to win that, and nice to beat a region opponent.”

Nine of Scarbor’s wrestlers won by pin, and four of them did it in the first period.

The two fastest matches of the day each lasted just 40 seconds. Valdosta’s John George pinned his opponent at 145 pounds in that time. The win improved George’s record to 7-0 this season. Then 215-pound wrestler Allen Scruggs, also an All-Region offensive lineman, improved to 9-0 this season with a 40-second pin.

“John’s having a great year so far,” Scarbor said. “Allen started out this way last year, and he’s wrestled well this year.”

Senior Desmond Baldwin scored a pin at 130 pounds in 1:10, and freshman Javon Scott scored a pin in 1:35 at 112 pounds.

The other Valdosta wrestlers to win by pin against Tift were Terry Pruitt at 152 pounds, Xavier Thompson at 160 pounds, Rodney Braithwaite at 171 pounds and Ryan Beasley at 135 pounds.

Valdosta’s Herb Reinhard dominated his match at 119, earning a technical fall when he built a 16-0 lead. Teammate Chris King, wrestling as a heavyweight, won 8-4.

“Tift County brought a big team, so a lot of wrestlers got the chance to wrestle,” Scarbor said. “That’s always good. Every one of our guys got a match, except one of our heavyweights.”

Before beating Tift, Valdosta took down Irwin 63-16. Seven wrestlers won by pin, and the Wildcats won 11 of the 14 matches.

Thompson (1:32) and Scruggs (1:58) each scored first-period pins. Rashard Brown (125 pounds), Baldwin, George, Pruitt and King also won by pin.

Braithwaite won 8-5, and Scott, Reinhard and Demetrius Harden won by forfeit.

Last weekend, Valdosta went 3-2 at the Walton Duals in Marietta. The Wildcats beat AAAAA power Walton, AAA power Cass and Greenback, Tenn., but lost to Pope and No. 2 Harrison.

Valdosta and rival Lowndes will both compete in the Effingham County tournament this weekend in Springfield.

“These next two weekends, with the Effingham tournament this weekend and the Camden tournament next weekend, will be big. It will be some good tests for us,” Scarbor said. “There will be some good teams this weekend. Oviedo, Fla. has a couple of ranked wrestlers, and Kell always has a tough team. We’re looking forward to the competition.”

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