Clinton Dunlap was nervous, even a little scared, with the outcome hinging on his match.
But the Glenn Hills wrestler realized his opponent couldn’t handle the headlock.
Dunlap secured a fall with 22 seconds remaining in the second period to give his team a 37-30 win over Westside and earn the Region 3-AAA Duals title Saturday at Westside.
The two teams finished in reverse order a year ago, but like in 2011, both head to the GHSA State Team Duals Championship in Macon. The state duals are Friday and Saturday.
Dunlap’s win completed Glenn Hills’ comeback bid as the Spartans trailed 20-0 and 30-12.
“It’s never about me,” Spartans coach Mark McCall said. “It’s about those guys and what they mean to me, what they mean to their school, and their parents, most importantly.”
The Spartans, winners against Hephzibah in the previous round, used the strong finish to negate pins by the Patriots’ Tavaris Roberson’, James Leaptrotte and TreVontay Rhodes.
Three pins and a win by major decision in the final four matches helped Glenn Hills rally.
Pins by Devonte Tyler and Dylan Cunningham gave the Spartans momentum, with LaRon Heath’s win by fall at 195 pounds cutting Westside’s lead to 30-21.
After Aaron Scruggs won his match 15-6 – almost pinning Josh Clark a few times in the process – Michael O’Neal got an early pin at 285 to make it 31-30 Spartans to set up the showdown at 113 pounds.
Westside, which beat Burke County to advance to the final, sent out Garrett Rundle in the last match.
Dunlap went ahead 5-3 in the first period, and after nearly registering a pin twice, he finally got one.
Following Glenn Hills’ celebration, which started with McCall going on his knees and resting his head on the mat in jubilation and included team huddles around the trophy, the Spartans’ attention was then focused on having success in Macon.
Even with the Patriots’ loss to Glenn Hills, Westside coach Kevin Waters’ team is also going to the State Duals.
“Our kids wrestled great,” Waters said. “It came down to the last match. I’m proud of our guys.”