The stage was set for Evans High School wrestlers as they celebrated the first Senior Night for the program in recent memory.
Knights seniors received small trophies. Their escorts walked the wrestlers across the gym floor during a pre-match ceremony and posed for pictures. Family and friends filled the stands.
Everything was in place, it seemed, but the competition.
The Knights took down the Academy of Richmond County on Tuesday night, 58-12. Lakeside was also scheduled to wrestle, but Panthers coach Randy Hill didn't realize it until it was too late. His team didn't compete.
Davis said Tuesday he was chalking up Lakeside's no-show as a forfeit. Hill, reached Thursday by phone, said that wasn't the case, however.
Hill said his team had already beaten the Knights twice, and that the Knights' win wouldn't matter.
Davis said he e-mailed Hill on Jan. 18 to remind him of the match. Hill said by the time he realized there was a match Tuesday, he couldn't get his wrestlers ready.
ARC did show, albeit with less than a full slate of wrestlers.
Evans' win against the Musketeers was aided by ARC forfeits in the 112-pound and 285-pound classes.
That meant Knights senior captain Trey Golston, Evans' heavyweight, didn't get the chance to wrestle on a night honoring his career accomplishments. Instead, he joked with teammates and threw a football along the baseline.
"It was important for me. It's history," said Golston, who improved to 80-14 during his three-year career, with 68 pins. "But I still picked up a region win."
Davis said Lakeside was on the schedule before ARC made it a three-way match. Davis credited his team with a win against the Panthers, barring any sort of appeal, improving its record to 5-9 overall, 3-7 in the region.
The win against ARC was Evans' second against the Musketeers this season, and by the same score.
After Evans won with a first-period fall in its first match, Musketeers 135-pounder Darryl Brakefield won with a second-period pin.
But the Knights weren't rattled.
Junior Josh Starker took a decision from ARC's Greg Jiminez at 145 pounds. A pair of Evans seniors then secured the Knights win with back-to-back falls in the first period.
The Knights Robert Payne rolled Musketeers' 152-pounder Khaleel Barnwell on his shoulders with 32 seconds left in the first. Al Vizzari, the Knights' 171-pound senior captain, then finished off ARC's Morgan Stears before the end of the first period.
Musketeers 189-pounder DeVaughn Fetzer gave ARC a win in the final match of the mat. He pinned Knights senior Chadd Abbot with 16.7 seconds left in the first period.
Davis said he came away feeling sloppy, but satisfied.
"I like a win, especially for the seniors," Davis said. "I really thought they would have wrestled some of those guys better."
For Golston and the Knights seniors, five regular-season matches remain in their high-school careers, with the area tournament starting Feb. 15 and the traditional state tournament beginning Feb. 20.
"We're finally coming together as a team, which is good at the end of the year," Golston said.
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