Burke County was the big winner when a trio of young squads squared off in Tuesday night's dual wrestling match at Grovetown High School.
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, with just two seniors on the team, was able to earn a split with a 46-36 win over Grovetown, who entered the night shorthanded with injuries.
So, early in the season, it led to a handful of forfeits in each of the three matches, making the ones wrestled that much more important.
Grovetown had to forfeit six weight classes while Lakeside had to forfeit three, leading to the match of the night 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 freshman; Lakeside's Grant Plunkett against Grovetown's Keegan 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," said Plunkett.
Lakeside coach Bill Powell was happy with the team's performance throughout the match.
"Overall, tonight was a success," said Powell. "What a way to win, it was great."
The dual meet was the first of the year for the Panthers (1-1), who were coming off a tournament at Effingham County the previous weekend. They found themselves down 24-0 quickly as Grovetown's Zachary Reformat (113), Jessie Maya (120) and Daegan Lente (132) each registered pins while Alexis Gonzalez was winner by forfeit at 126 pounds,
Donald True led his 138-pound match 12-7 before winning with a pin at 4:24, getting the Panthers on the board.
Eight-consecutive forfeits ensued leading to the final match of the night.
In the night's opener, Lakeside seniors stood out, among others. Brad Sankey (6-2), who won the 195-pound weight class at Effingham County, beat the Bear's Carlton Holmes, 7-0. At 182 pounds, the Panthers' JaVeon Brigham beat the Bears Jeremy Gordon 7-2, but that would be all for the Panthers in the match.
Against Burke County, Robert Maldonado was the Warriors lone non-forfeit winner at 160 pounds. He led 9-3 entering the second period, ending the match with a pin 54 seconds into the period.
The Warriors' 120-pounder Maya ran his record to 9-1 with a forfeit win against Burke County and a pin in 1:57 over Lakeside's Samuel Harris.
"I thought we fought hard tonight, said Warriors head coach Jay Acree. "Overall, I'm proud of our effort."