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Class 6A State Duals Preview

By Georgia Grappler, 01/21/22, 4:45AM AKST

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State Dual Final this Weekend

State Dual Championship

Initial Reactions

- 6 of the 8 Regions are represented in the Elite 8 with Regions 3 and 4 not having a team qualify.  

- 6 of the 8 teams qualifying this year also qualified last season, with Lassiter and Cambridge being the two new qualifiers.  Each of the top 4 teams from 2021 are back in the field this season.

- Buford is probably the favorite to repeat, with Valdosta being the team that most likely has the best chance at knocking them off, they are seeded #1 and #2 so that makes me happy.  

- This is the most balanced classification 1-8 in the entire State, and I feel that all 8 teams could potentially make a run at a top 4 finish.  Imagine how tight things would be if Pope and Sequoyah didn't run into terrible bracket luck in the Sweet 16.  

1st Round

Buford vs Lassiter: This is probably the biggest mismatch that we will see in the entire tournament.  Buford is the defending State Duals Champs and they added three Phenomenal Freshman to last year's young squad.  Lassiter has some great individuals, but not enough to slow down the Wolves.

Creekview vs Richmond Hill:  Juicy little 4/5 matchup here, these two teams have lost more to graduation over the last two seasons yet they just keep on reloading with fresh faces year after year.  Creekview had quite a battle with Sequoyah in the Region Finals and Richmond Hill finished 3rd in the very tough Region 2.  Both of these teams are battle tested and it will be a close match, but I give the edge to Richmond Hill.

Brunswick vs Alexander:  Another phenomenal 1st round match up that is a rematch from last season's consolation finals, won by Alexander.  Brunswick is very tough and very different from last season's team, this year they rely on their upper weights to carry the load for them, while the middle and light weights pick up scraps where they can.  Alexander is always good for at least one huge "Surprise" moment in every tournament.  They are a team that is very tough at all 14 weight classes, they have a couple of stars, but they are successful by always having someone capable of beating your kid if he is not having a good day.  I think Brunswick squeaks out a close win this time around.

Valdosta vs Cambridge:  Compared to the 4/5 and 3/6 matches in this bracket, this one will also be a mismatch.  Valdosta is loaded, and they will cruise to a win here, and they should be much more rested than whoever they face in the semifinals.

Semifinals

Buford vs Richmond Hill:  When you look at this classification from a bird's eye view it appears to be the most balanced classification in the State, but when you take a closer look and break down individual matchups, it doesn't take long to see just how dominant Buford is.  The balance and parody in this classification doesn't fully take hold until after you get past the top 2 teams.  These two teams met in the 1st round last year and Buford came away with a 38-18 victory, the margin could be more this season.

Potential Matchups: Obviously this could and will change based on coaches moving people around to optimize their lineups.
106- Rylan Ibold vs Matt Josefik
113- Kieron McCormick/Ty Gentry vs Cody Willoughby
120- Maddoc McArthur vs Roman Slaughter/Colin Dragon
126- Drew Gorman vs Roman Slaughter/Colin Dragon
132- Tyler Henley vs Devin Wright
138- Gavin Pope vs Jackson Crawford
145- JT McCullough vs Bradley Barrett
152- Talen Thompson vs Raymond Luca
160- Grayson Santee vs Gaven Hill
170- Conor McClosky vs Owen Osden
182- Aaron RIner vs Trey Bowkett
195- Ben Martin vs Caleb Gonser
220- Abe Gonzalez vs Thomas Crawford
285- Eddrick Houston vs Louisguens Valssaint

Buford is favored in 10 of the matches if things go straight up, so I see 1 of 2 things happening here.  This match will go to chalk as the predictions believe and Buford will roll into the finals, or some of the new faces in the Richmond Hill lineup will show out and ick up a signature win and we will have a dual that is decided by 14-18 points.  Perhaps it could be a mixture of the two, but wither way Buford has too much firepower and will advance.

Valdosta vs Brunswick:  While Valdosta doesn't appear to have quite the same advantage over their opponent that Buford has, this match has an opportunity to be somewhat one sided.  While I think Brunswick does have a path to victory, Valdosta looks like they are in pretty good shape on paper.

Potential Matchups: Obviously this could and will change based on coaches moving people around to optimize their lineups.
106- John Nelson vs Clayton Hicks
113- Santana Law vs Stunnar Hutchinson
120- Kaleb Davis vs Thomas Clay
126- Darrell Rochester vs Peter McKinney
132- Deandre Myers/Gabe Sears vs Comari Cone
138- Cameron Bradley vs Marcus Norman
145- Tyler Lamon vs Aric Smith
152- Greg White vs Blake Etheridge
160- Jamal Walker vs Sebastian Hutchinson
170-  Cedric Stewart vs Titus Washington
182- Mikel Anderson vs Leon Charlton
195- Josh McCutchen vs Staffon Stanley
220- D'Avion Davis vs Anthony Lowe
285- Aaron Inman vs River Creel

Straight up I have this as an 8/6 split in favor of Valdosta, but both teams have moves available that could benefit them.  The big problem for Brunswick in this matchup is that the weights where they usually can count on wins are not wins against Valdosta.  Brunswick will find some tough sledding trying to out score Valdosta from 170 up, which means they will need to find other places to score.  With Kaleb Davis and Darrell Rochester down in the lightweights, and Cameron Bradley and Tyler Lamon in the middle weights, that is going to be tough to do.  

Consolation Rounds
Creekview over Lassiter
Alexander over Cambridge

Brunswick over Creekview
Richmond Hill over Alexander

Consolation Finals
Brunswick vs Richmond Hill:  A Region 2 battle that actually didn't occur at the Region Duals due to Richmond Hill falling in the semis by 1.  These two teams know each other well and this will be the last "meaningful" hoorah between them for at least 2 years, as Richmond Hill is making the move up to 7A, so one of these teams will have bragging rights for a while.  Brunswick was the Region Champion for a reason.

Final Score: Brunswick 35   Richmond Hill 23

State Championship Dual
Buford vs Valdosta
106- Rylan Ibold vs John Nelson
113- Kieron McCormick/Ty Gentry vs Santana Law
120- Maddoc McArthur vs Kaleb Davis
126- Drew Gorman vs Darrell Rochester
132- Tyler Henley vs Deandre Myers/Gabe Sears
138- Gavin Pope vs Cameron Bradley
145- JT McCullough vs Tyler Lamon
152- Talen Thompson vs Greg White/Jamal Walker
160- Grayson Santee vs Greg White/Jamal Walker
170- Conor McClosky vs Cedric Stewart
182- Aaron RIner vs Mikel Anderson
195- Ben Martin vs Josh McCutchen
220- Abe Gonzalez vs D'Avion Davis
285- Eddrick Houston vs Aaron Inman

For those that think Buford is going to waltz to another State Title, they haven't seen what Valdosta is bringing to the table.  In this dual there are very few locks, Buford is heavily favored in 3 weights and should win 2 others, but could get upset.  Valdosta is heavily favored in 3 weights and should win 1 other, but could get upset.  That leaves 5 tossup matches that will ultimately decide the dual.  5 toss ups in a straight up dual means there will be a lot of moving parts to each teams lineup.  To me this dual comes down to one thing (well maybe 3 things), Buford's 3 Freshmen Phenoms.  If McArthur, Gorman, and McClosky can all three win, then Buford will pick up the Championship.  Sure these three kids have been on the big stage all over the country, but when you wrestle with that school name on your singlet, it just hits different.  If they can hold up to the pressure and pick up big wins over 3 of Valdosta's studs, then not only will Buford win, but they could win big.

Final Score:  Buford 31 Valdosta 26

Top 4 
1. Buford
2. Valdosta
3. Brunswick
4. Richmond Hill

Just a quick side note, 3 of the top 4 teams will be moving up to 7A next year.  How much fun does Buford vs Camden sound!!!!!!!!!!!!

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