As Lakeside's Blaine Carter grasped the Area 3-AAAA team dual wrestling trophy in his hand, he already was thinking about Feb. 2.
He dominated his Butler opponent in the 215-pound weight class, and the Panthers defeated the Bulldogs for the Area 3-AAAA Team Dual Championship on Wednesday. But Carter wanted revenge for last year, when Butler's wrestlers put out a better showing than Lakeside for the traditional Area 3-AAAA title.
Carter said it won't happen again Feb. 2, and the rest of his Panthers teammates proved they're as hungry for redemption.
With Butler threatening to run away with the meet, Lakeside won the last six matches - including four pins in less than two minutes - to come back and beat the host Bulldogs 53-30 in the championship finals. Both teams, however, will advance to the state duals Feb. 16.
"Our lightweights did a good job," said Lakeside coach Randy Hill, whose squad defeated Hephzibah 66-18 for the right to meet Butler. "At a dual meet, pins are what you have to get. You can beat people, but that's only worth three points. A pin's worth six, and that's what you teach your kids. You have to pin and not get pinned."
That was easier said than done for his team early.
After Lakeside opened with a forfeit in the 140-pound match, the teams split the next two decisions. Then the Bulldogs, who beat Greenbrier 49-27 to reach the finals, started to roll.
Brian Kaufman (171 pounds), Demetrius Smallwood (189) and Jonna Lee (275) each dominated their Panther opponents to build a sizable lead.
Lakeside, however, wasn't done.
"We were up in the match, but we had some disappointments," said Butler coach Jason Moore, whose Bulldogs were crowned city champs Saturday. "But our kids fought hard. That was, by far, the best wrestling Augusta has seen."
Unfortunately for the Bulldogs, though, Lakeside finished strong, as lightweights Richard Fontimayor (103), Mike Ingham (112), Chris Fontimayor (119) and J.P. Dixon (130) scored dominating pins to give them the edge.
And according to Lakeside's Carter, that domination will continue to Feb. 2.
"We had to prove we're the best in the city," he said. "We had to prove we're the best in Augusta. We did, and we're here to stay."
Reach Josh Katzowitz at (706) 823-3216.