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Mask and assistant coaches Dustin Cook (left) and Phillip Nelson

Wrestlers headed back to Magic City

By Michael Butler

The Tallassee wrestling team did what its done to every opponent this season - made mincemeat of them. A strong Elberta team was no match for the Tigers in a 64-12 victory. Now Tallassee (30-0) returns to Birmingham to vie for the state duals title that eluded them narrowly last season.

"The kids have been looking forward to this," said THS head coach John Mask. "I've always said we're a great duals team - always have been."

Ten Tallassee wrestlers recorded pins on Thursday; Nolan Addeo, Thomas Patterson, Mason Nelson, Aiden Bridgman, Avery Brantley, Land Bell, Ethan Jones, Tra'Mel McCoy, Christian McCary and Joseph Hooks.

"I feel like this may be one of the best teams we've ever had," said Mask, who has guided the team to one state championship and eight runners-up finishes. "We're blessed with these kids. We've got good talent. They've worked hard. It's the culture. There's so much support. There's so much comradery."

Tallassee will match up in the semifinal round with Gulf Shores, a team they beat 32-29 in the same round last year. The winner of that match faces the Jasper/Scottsboro winner. Jasper beat Tallassee 38-33 for the duals championship last season in Birmingham.

"All of those teams are equal," Mask noted. "You're going to have to wrestle your best and cut down on mistakes. You can't give up easy points. It may come down to a tiebreaker. All these teams are loaded."

The Class 5A semis will have matches on two mats at the Crossplex beginning at 8:45 a.m. Finals and consolation matches are scheduled to start at 10:30.

"We have to wrestle our best. We've been talking about a plan. You may have to move people around. You can win for the team by not getting pinned. You only give up three, it can help the team to win. You have to be selfless."

WTLS - Score 94.7/Hit 106.9 will broadcast live from Birmingham on Friday morning. Coverage begins with the Wake-Up Call at 6 a.m.


*Photos by Kyle Thornton