Deandre Johnson considers Mark Rivers a friend -- except when the wrestlers face each other on the mat.
Battery Creek High School's Johnson learned he was ranked No. 2 at 160 pounds in the Class 1-A/2-A rankings. Rivers, a Whale Branch Early College High School senior, is ranked No. 3.
Johnson jumped Rivers early Wednesday, with a takedown and quick back points in the first period. And, after Rivers started the second period with a takedown, Johnson fought out for a reversal and quick pin. The pace was ferocious and the six points helped continue Battery Creek's momentum in the early bouts as the Dolphins cruised to a 47-25 victory.
"Throughout the season, he was like, 'I'm coming after you. I can't wait to wrestle you,' " Johnson said. "Then the rankings came out last night. This match here, everybody was looking for it."
Battery Creek, ranked No. 7 in Class 1-A/2-A, finished 3-0 at Wednesday's quad meet, also defeating short-handed Ridgeland-Hardeeville and Garrett Academy Tech. Whale Branch won its other two matches before falling to the rival Dolphins.
"They've been talking about us," said Battery Creek's Brayden Smith, who won with a pin at 170. "We came out here and wrestled hard like we were supposed to and showed them up, proved them wrong."
First-year Whale Branch coach Travis Wynn saw bouts at 106, 145 and 170 as ones that could swing the match. Battery Creek swept all three with pins.
And at heavyweight, where Whale Branch's Max Ford entered ranked No. 6 in the state, Battery Creek's Jonathan Wright won a decision and surprise three points.
"If you had asked people around here who was going to win heavyweight, nine out of 10 would have said the other guy," said Battery Creek coach Nathan Day, who is coaching with Jim Shuman this season.
Day hopes the Dolphins can get back to full strength with big dual meets the next two weekends. The Dolphins have been missing Jimmy Sanchez at 126 and Wednesday were without Porter Mahan, who was sick.
Wynn has tried to bolster the Warriors' numbers since the start of the season. He succeeded in convincing Tasheen Williams to join the team at 120. Williams -- in his second varsity match -- won with a first-period pin, part of four consecutive victories for Whale Branch.
Wynn, a former Beaufort High School wrestler, said he had looked forward to coaching against his former rival.
"We really needed those three weights, and it would have been a totally different story," Wynn said. "... It's a work in progress."
Ridgeland-Hardeeville is fielding the first wrestling program for Jasper County, with a team that includes three freshmen and three sophomores. Jaguars coach Robert Broome, who has coached in Hilton Head, Bluffton and Savannah, said Ridgeland-Hardeeville will primarily wrestle a junior varsity schedule. He wanted his wrestlers to compete against varsity competition when the opportunity arose locally.
"We're trying to give them a chance to wrestle," Broome said. "We're not Hilton Head or Bluffton, but we'll work with what we can do."
Battery Creek 47, Whale Branch 25
Note: Match started at 220. Whale Branch penalized two team points for unsportsmanlike conduct.
106: Joseph Cuevas (BC) pinned Jhylil Jones, 2nd period
113: Christopher Cann (WB) pinned James Kearse, 1st period
120: Tasheen Williams (WB) pinned Chris Kennedy, 1st period
126: Elijah Morales (WB) pinned David Hatfield, 1st period
132: Javon Gardner (WB) dec. Brandon Gray, 11-9
138: Brian LaBean (BC) major dec. Lavar Washington, 10-1
145: Jacob Bickley (BC) pinned Brandon Rausch, 1st period
152: Malik Morgan (BC) won by forfeit
160: Deandre Johnson (BC) pinned Mark Rivers, 2nd period
170: Brayden Smith (BC) pinned Howard Allen, 1st period
182: Allen Juan (WB) pinned Craig Truett, 1st period
195: Isaiah Sloan (BC) dec. Trey Nelson, 14-8
220: Seth Priester (BC) won by forfeit
285: Jonathan Wright (BC) dec. Max Ford, 7-5
Battery Creek 62, Garrett Academy 6
Battery Creek 78, Ridgeland-Hardeeville 6
Whale Branch 66, Garrett Academy 6
Whale Branch 66, Ridgeland-Hardeeville 12