BY DARREN REESE
BLUFF CITY - The scene was a familiar one: Greeneville and Sullivan East squaring off for the region duals championship, just as they had done the previous three years.
In each of those meetings, the road team came out victorious. That was the case again Tuesday night.
Greeneville traveled to SEHS and came back with one more piece of hardware to add to the trophy case, edging out the Patriots for the Region 1-A/AA title.
Senior Atlas Fagundes scored a pin in the final weight class to rally the Devils to a 41-36 victory. Greeneville now advances to the TSSAA State Championships, to be held February 1-2 in Franklin.
"Every year has been a match just like this (with Sullivan East)," Greeneville head coach Randy Shelton said. "No matter where it's at, it's going to be a dog fight."
"I've got six seniors and Sullivan East had to go through those six seniors to get to the state tournament. Five of those six seniors came away with pins. You can't ask any more of your upperclassmen."
Greeneville defeated Elizabethton in a semifinal match earlier in the night, while Sullivan East got past West Greene.
The championship showdown was a seesaw battle the entire way, with neither team winning two consecutive weight classes through the first 10.
But things got even more interesting down the stretch.
With the Devils leading 29-24 through the 182 lb. class, Sullivan East's Billy Alston and Logan King put together back-to-back pins to put the Patriots in charge, 36-29, with just two matches left.
Greeneville's Reese Valk followed with a crucial pin with less than a minute remaining in the 285 lb. match to keep the visitors' hopes alive. A win by Sullivan East in the match would have ended the night.
Instead, Valk's victory set up a winner-take-all showdown in the 106 lb. class.
Fagundes was already ahead of Luke Hicks 4-2 on the scoreboard when he managed to get the pin with just over one minute left in the first period.
"Today was one of those days where I wanted it on my shoulders," Fagundes said.
Fagundes had been wrestling in a heavier class earlier in the year, but cut weight in order to help the team at 106. He was a state individual qualifier a year ago.
"I've been cutting a lot of weight to come down to this weight class and have matches like this," he explained. "To take my team to Franklin, that's what today was all about - getting this team to state."
Jon Boatman got the Devils on the board first with a 7-1 decision in the opening class (113). Josh Vance and Justin Carlson later added GHS pins and Jimmy Bowman came out on top of a hotly contested 12-8 decision, as the score was tied at 18-18 through 152 lbs.
Greeneville moved in front when Jared Bond scored a 15-0 tech fall at 160 lbs.
After a Nelson Elliott pin put the Patriots back in front, Greeneville's Marshall Brown was victorious by forfeit to put the Devils in front 29-24, setting up the exciting finish.
"East beat us by one at our place last year in the region finals, and for our seniors, this has been on the calendar from day one this season," Shelton said. "They wanted this. They worked hard for it, and did a great job tonight."
Earlier Tuesday night at Sullivan East High School, the semifinals of the Region 1-A/AA duals championships were held.
Sullivan East punched its ticket to the finals by defeating West Greene 46-27.
The Buffaloes were making their first appearance at region duals since 2010.
"It was a successful season, considering what we have," West Greene head coach -- said, noting that his roster included just one senior and one junior this year.
"Of course you would always like to do a little better, but I am happy with everything we have accomplished."
Brad Ricker is the only senior on the squad. He advanced to state individuals last year, and he will have look to repeat that accomplishment when the Region 1-A/AA individual championships are held next month.
Ricker (113 lbs.) lost his match Tuesday night, but several of his teammates managed to pick up wins.
Zach Scruggs won by decision in the 126 lb. class. Jonathan Padgett (145) and Logan Anderson (160) both recorded pins.
Sullivan East sealed up the match after the 188 lb. class and chose to forfeit the final three weights.
The 195 lb. division resulted in a double forfeit.
The same thing happened on the other semifinal mat as Greeneville jumped out to a big lead over Elizabethton and forfeited the final weight classes once it had mathematically locked up the win.
Greeneville scored the first 40 points of the match: Atlas Fagundes, Jon Boatman, Josh Vance, Rob Shelton, Alex Perez and Justin Carlson all won by pin during that stretch, while Clay Alley picked up a 12-2 decision.
Elizabethton got on the board with a six-pointer in the 152 lb. class, but Walker Brown won by forfeit at 160 to make it 46-6 and Greeneville skipped the final five weight classes to avoid getting anyone injured before the finals.. The official final score was 46-36.