Although the Stephenson varsity wrestling coach — “old school” by his own admission — has seen his team beset by a string of legitimate setbacks, he and his group of grapplers just keep plugging away.
Case-in-point: The Jaguars, as will be the case in all 2012-13 postseason showcases, hobbled into the Area 6-AAAAA tournament, held at Dunwoody over the weekend.
“We’re going in shorthanded … [opposing clubs] have improved and they’ve got sheer numbers,” said Noble. “Like with football, you’d have to say we’re limping into the playoffs … but we’ve gotta go with what we’ve got.”
The Jaguars are missing four key contributors on the mat, three due to injury.
In addition, heavyweight Edmond Bank has had to hang up his singlet to concentrate on college football. The 6 foot 8, 290-pound standout’s absence leaves a gaping hole in the Jaguars’ lineup.
“That’s already four forfeits,” Noble pointed out. “In order to make up for it, we’ve gotta get pins.”
Stephenson has the personnel to do just that.
Darian Perry, fresh off his DeKalb County wrestling meet MVP showing, is looking to improve on his top six finish at last season’s GHSA state tourney. Teammate Stephen Wiley is out to do the same.
Eric Baldwin (135) and Deshawn Broomfield (126) have also been consistent contributors for the Jaguars.
Said Noble: “The message has been the same … ‘Keep working and don’t get complacent.’
“A lot of times, a guy will get [lax] then try a move, get caught and end up getting pinned … I try to tell them to stay humble and hungry.”
DeKalb boasts a number of contenders for Peach State prep wrestling gold.
Perhaps none are hotter than Marist at the moment. The War Eagles, Area 6-AAAA duals and county champs, look like they’ve continued to get stronger as the season has rolled on.
*Editor’s note: The top four finishers in each weight class advances to the State Sectionals, to be held Friday and Saturday.
Check out area wrestling tournaments results in the online version of this article.