PARKERSBURG - Fresh off a Mountain State Athletic Conference wrestling championship on Saturday inside Memorial Fieldhouse, Class AAA No. 2 Huntington will be back in town tonight.
That's because the Highlander wrestlers of head coach Rob Archer are scheduled to tangle with No. 1 Parkersburg South at 6:30 p.m. inside the Rod Oldham Athletic Center on senior night for the Patriots.
Parkersburg South, seeking a fourth straight big school state championship for head man Paul Jackson, returns to action for the first time since last week when the Patriots drilled George Washington and Nelsonville-York inside the ROAC to start a new dual match winning streak.
"It should be a good match and if we can click like we are capable of we could do pretty well," said Jackson, who noted this would be his final dual at PSHS after submitting his resignation at the end of last week to finish his coaching career following the state tournament.
"I look for a very spirited match and it's going to be a lot closer than people think because if we don't wrestle well the tables could be turned on us."
Huntington is led by MSAC champions Logan Grass (106), Justin Arthur (138) and Demadre Turner (152), but the Highlanders didn't fare well last year in this dual versus the Patriots in Cabell County as PSHS went on the road and rolled to a 42-16 triumph.
Tonight's Projected Matchups
No. 2 Huntington at No. 1 Parkersburg South Wrestling Dual
106: #1 Lance Hill (PS) vs. #2 Logan Grass
113: #2 Bryce Gainer (PS) vs. #3 Jordan Allen
120: #2 Tyler Karcher (PS) vs. Johnathan Spence
126: #1 David Jeffrey (PS) vs. #6 Chance Donahoe
132: #6 Tyler Richards (PS) vs. #2 Billy Waldeck
138: #2 Briar Shively (PS) vs. #1 Justin Arthur
145: #7 Jordan Quiocho (PS) vs. #4 Chris Brent
152: #7 Stewart Morris (PS) vs. #4 Demadre Turner
160: #4 Jake Alexander (PS) vs. Paden Christian
170: #4 Drake Mills (PS) vs. #5 Jason Martin
182: #2 Steven Brogle (PS) vs. Austin Budd
195: #10 Matt Dixon (PS) vs. Aerison Parrish
220: #7 Evin Sams (PS) vs. #8 Nigale Cabell
285: #7 Thomas Hall (PS) vs. #4 Toney Kitts
"Last year Lance (Hill) went down there and beat (Justin) Riggs and that really started the ball rolling for us," Jackson recalled. "It was one of those nights down there last year where we had the momentum right at the beginning. We can't let them do that to us."
With the Highlanders edging No. 3 Ripley for the MSAC crown - 222.5 to 215 - wrestling fans are anxious to see whether HHS, which lost the state title to Parkersburg South by a score of 184.5 to 163 last winter, can derail the Patriots later this month at the state tournament inside the Big Sandy Superstore Arena.
As for tonight, it's all about bragging rights and honoring a half dozen Patriot seniors. Senior night activities are slated to begin at 6 p.m.
Three-time state champion David Jeffrey, who recently became the all-time winningest Class AAA wrestler in Mountain State history, will be honored along with fellow teammates Steven Brogle, Bryce Gainer, Tyler Karcher, Chase Warner and Matt Somerville.
Hill, who is competing at 106 this season, is top-ranked in his weight class and will be pitted against Grass, who is ranked second in the state. The only other scheduled 1-2 battle should come at 138 where the top-ranked Arthur takes on No. 2 Briar Shively.
"Huntington is a pretty solid team like us and the first two matches will set the tone for the whole thing," coach Jackson added.
"Huntington has improved a lot since PHS beat them and I thought their kids were pretty aggressive at the MSAC."