CARBONDALE - Junior heavyweight Deandre Motley edged senior Blake Fields 4-3 in the last individual match against Mount Vernon to hold on to a slim lead and beat the Rams, 42-35, to give the Comanches the South Seven wrestling championship and dethrone three-time champion Carbondale.
"We've been working all year for this," said Cahokia coach Demetrius Hurd. "The last couple years, Carbondale has been able to skate past us. The key was Cameron Davis getting a pin at 125 to help put us over the top, and Deandre Motley being able to finish it off at the end."
Mount Vernon had come from 30-13 down with four matches to go to pull to within one point going into the final match after a major decision by first-team All-Conference selections Eric Heinzman at 171 and two pins by Torrey Pollard and Dustin Cole at 189 and 215, respectively.
Fields drew first blood scoring a takedown seven seconds into the second period. Motley tied the score with 16.3 seconds remaining in the period on a reverse and took the lead 3-2 on an escape 20 seconds into the third period.
Fields tied the score 3-3 on an escape with 37 seconds remaining only to see Motley score an escape point 16 seconds later and hold on to win 4-3 and give Cahokia the conference title.
"They told me it was all going to rely on me," Motley said. "When I was down one, he was called for stalling, and I was down on the restart. I didn't want to let my team down, and even though I was tired, I sucked it up and hit a roll and got out for the point."
Cahokia opened the conference tournament with a 44-30 win over Belleville Althoff on Friday night and beat Marion 55-20 to open the Saturday morning session. After beating Mount Vernon the Comanches beat Centralia, 66-9, and finished with a 48-22 win over Carbondale to sweep the competition.
For the Comanches, sophomore Videl Akins (103), senior Thomas Gantt (130) and junior Darnell Thomas (152) repeated as conference champions. Senior Ivan Lester (145) and freshman David Frazier (140) won their first conference titles.
Mount Vernon beat Centralia, 60-14, on Friday night and took the measure of Belleville Althoff, 63-15, in its first match Saturday. After the loss to Cahokia, Mount Vernon beat Carbondale, 47-31, and Marion, 51-21, to finish with a 4-1 record.
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"Our goal was to be conference champs, which is something we haven't done since 2000," said Mount Vernon coach Sean Docherty. "It came down to points here, and there we let slip away. We gave up a pin whenever we could have gave up just by points and had two matches that could have gone the other way."
For the Rams, Cole and sophomore Blake Stricklin (135) successfully defended conference crowns with Pollard, senior Nick Vosburgh (152) and junior Eric Heinzman (171) winning their first conference titles.
Carbondale, Marion and Belleville Althoff tied for third after going 2-3. For the Terriers, senior Alli Ragan (130) was named first-team all-conference for the fourth straight time finishing with a 4-1 record after losing to Cahokia's Bernard Gantt, 4-3, in an ultimate tie-breaker with four seconds left.
Also for the Terriers, sophomore Zane Richards (125) repeated as champion by winning by three pins, by injury default and a 3-1 overtime decision against Cahokia. Senior Prentice Thomas (119) was named first-team for the second time in the last three years.
"Winning two titles in a row is a good experience for me, because I'm shooting for four," Richards said. "My overtime win was against the same Cahokia kid (Thomas Gantt) I wrestled at Murdale, and I won in overtime there. I finally got my arm across his stomach, and I got the takedown to win."
Belleville Althoff senior Ryne Harris (112) won his second straight and third overall conference championship with Michael Harris (103) and Thomas Moore (285) also winning titles.
Marion had one first-team All-Conference selection in junior Marcus Green (160) and three second-team selections in senior Arthur Grant (130), senior Jack Mills (189) and freshman Jon Evetts (125).
Centralia finished last (0-5) but had three second-team selections in Sean McLean (140), Jimmy O'Neill (171) and Ryan Scheidt (215).