OAKWOOD - Chestatee and North Hall both made it through the opening day of the Hall County Championship unbeaten through three matches Friday in Oakwood.
It just so happens, these two will also face off in the seventh and final match of the eight-team, round-robin meet Saturday, possibly to decide which team will walk from Johnson High with the county championship.
"Our goal is to go 7-0 this weekend, but that's still to be seen," Chestatee coach Carey Whitlow said. "But I tell our kids, win or lose, we're going to give all the glory to God."
Chestatee won its matches against East Hall (53-14), Flowery Branch (38-30) and West Hall (52-25).
Flowery Branch and West Hall are also still in the running with two wins in the opening round, both losing against the War Eagles.
Led by a three-pin effort from Tyler Kratzer, North Hall won its matches against East Hall (57-12), Riverside Military (47-18) and Gainesville (53-10).
The Hall County Championships is biggest for local bragging rights amongst the seven public schools and Riverside Military.
For the five schools in Region 8-AAA, it also factors into seeding for the Region 8-AAA Championship meet that opens next Friday at Chestatee.
The Trojans open today's action against Flowery Branch, which won matches against Johnson (72-12) and East Hall (75-11).
"We're where we hoped to be at the end of the first day, but our match against Flowery Branch is going to be huge for us," North Hall coach Jay Hargis said.
The Falcons also need a win in the day's opener to remain in the running for the county title before its Area 8-AAAA Championship meet next weekend at Habersham Central.
"We're in a position now where we need other teams to lose to have a chance to win it," Flowery Branch coach Shane Millwood said. "And we have to beat North Hall."
On Day 1 of the county meet, it was the Chestatee win against Flowery Branch that dictated which team would pick up a huge boost of momentum.
Trailing 24-17, the War Eagles picked up wins at the end from Malik Wesley (182 pounds), Dylan Brock (195), Grayson Entrekin (220) and a pin by Jose Reyes-Lavallee (106) to take the match.
"I feel like all the hard work pays off when you win a match against a good team," Wesley said.
Wesley's win was the one that kicked off the rally.
Entering the third period with no score, he allowed the other wrestler to escape in the final minute. However, with only seconds remaining, Wesley, who was bumped up to 182 from 170, managed a takedown to secure victory and bring the War Eagles' gallery of fans all to its feet.
"We were very evenly matched, I was just able to outlast him at the end," Wesley said of his win. "When you're able to outlast the other guy, you can mentally break them down."
However, Wesley's match didn't secure the win for Chestatee, but gained a two-point lead after wins from Brock and Entrekin.
The match came down to the final weight class at 106, which is where Reyes-Lavallee took a pin to win the match. He won all three matches for the first day (two pins and a forfeit).
"Winning a match by eight points isn't very much at all," Whitlow said. "But our guys stepped up and finished strong".
Whitlow isn't ready to concede the championship will come down to the final round against North Hall. A lot can happen during the first three matches Saturday.
"Riverside has the ability to get us hurt, Gainesville has the ability to get us hurt and Johnson has the ability to get us hurt," Whitlow said.
The fourth round of the tournament begins at 9:30 a.m. Saturday and the final round is projected to begin at approximately 2:30 p.m.
Trophies will be awarded to the top three teams and to outstanding wrestlers for the meet.