The Bears (18-4), with just one of five wrestlers that advanced to the state tournament in 2011 available, were still able to get by Lakeside 46-30 before beating the host Warriors 52-24.
In the final match of the night, Lakeside (1-1) was able to earn a split with a 46-36 win over Grovetown.
“We did OK tonight,” Burke County coach Johnny Castro said. “We had a lot of new guys wrestling with our veterans out because football just finished up.”
The match of the night came in the last contest of the competition in the 106-pound class.
With Lakeside leading Grovetown 42-36, the Warriors needed a pin for the tie. The match pitted two freshmen – Lakeside’s Grant Plunkett against Grovetown’s Keegam Margoupis. Through three periods, just when one wrestler seemed to be in control, the other would come right back. Margoupis led 10-9 entering the third period, but Plunkett got a quick reversal to take the lead. Leading 13-12, Plunkett finally took control, winning 18-12 to secure the Panthers’ win.
“During the breaks I saw all my teammates cheering me on and it inspired me a lot,” Plunkett said.
“Overall, tonight was a success,” Lakeside coach Bill Powell said of his young team, which features just two seniors. “What a way to win, it was great.”
In a matchup of 2011 state tournament returnees, Lakeside senior Brad Sankey (6-2), who won the 195-pound weight class at Effingham County’s tournament over the weekend, beat the Bears’ Carlton Holmes, who was wrestling up a weight class, 7-0.
At 182 pounds, the Panthers’ JaVeon Brigham beat the Bears’ Jeremy Gordon 7-2, but that was all for the Panthers in the match.
Grovetown 120-pounder Jessie Maya ran his record to 9-1 with a forfeit victory against Burke County and a pin in 1 minute, 57 seconds over Lakeside’s Samuel Harris.
In the end, too many forfeits was too much for the Warriors to overcome against the Panthers.
“I thought we fought hard tonight, Grovetown coach Jay Acree said. “Overall, I’m proud of our effort.”