Whenever the wrestling programs from Parkersburg and Parkersburg South get together it's always interesting.
Wednesday night inside Memorial Fieldhouse wasn't any different.
While everyone was hoping to see the showdown between top-ranked 182-pounder Jared Haught of PHS and second-ranked Patriot Steven Brogle, that didn't happen.
Although Brogle was initially announced as Haught's opponent, the Patriot senior actually bumped up to 195 where he wrestled his seventh match of the year at that weight class.
"It's not a big deal," said PHS head coach Chris Way of the match everyone wanted to see that didn't take place. "It would've been good for the fans, good for the coaches and good for the kids, but they chose not to do it. It's all right."
Haught, who also has wrestled more than a half dozen matches at 195 and even weighed in once this year at 170, is expected to stay the course at 182 throughout the winter.
"I knew it wasn't going to happen," admitted Way, who relayed that to Haught at Tuesday night's practice. "I think everybody in Parkersburg knew it wasn't going to happen, but they let us wait until the very end to find out I guess."
In my mind, with Brogle going at less than 100 percent - and the real chance he'll end up competing at 195 when it matters the most - there wasn't a big reason to have him go out against Haught.
Another somewhat similar instance came at 220, where Big Red Tyler Riddle wrestled a solid match against Patriot Evin Sams, who eventually lost by disqualification as he continued to get stalls. Much like Brogle, injuries have plagued Sams of late.
"After the match, he (Evin) said I should've listened to you," coach Jackson said of Sams, who he finally decided to let wrestle after going against his better judgment. "He was begging and pleading and I just finally gave into it."
However, with the PHS and South match all the participants who have any chance of competing want to be out on the mat and that's just one of the reason why the rivalry is special.
Now that the battle for Wood County is over, the real test begins to see if the Patriots can win a fourth straight state title and how much the Big Reds can improve the rest of the season.
"It lets us know where we stand," Way added of the city dual. "We know that we can beat the number three team (Huntington) in the state and some of those other teams in the state, but there's a significant difference when you get into a team like Parkersburg South."
As for coach Jackson, he's been relaying his fears to me that Ripley might have just enough to dethrone the Patriots from their string of titles, but that remains to be seen.
"Some of our good kids might not make it out of the region," Jackson said. "That's what I try to tell these kids. They have to get ready for every match and can't take things for granted."
Contact Jay Bennett at firstname.lastname@example.org