Jake Sharp waited his turn as the second-to-last match of the night Wednesday at Beaufort High School.
The pressure built as it appeared the final three bouts would decide the Eagles' Region 8-AAAA match against Summerville. But by the time Sharp took the mat at 113 pounds, Summerville had locked up victory.
The Green Wave, the second-ranked team in Class 4-A, went on to win 37-26.
Sharp took his place opposite old rival James Sass anyway. Sass is the top-ranked wrestler in Class 4-A at 106 pounds, wrestling up a weight class to help his team in important matches.
Sass and Sharp had battled in the past and again fought close Wednesday, with Sass inching away with an escape and takedown in the third period for a 10-6 decision.
Sharp had lost but relished the fight.
"Most of them have gone in favor of him, and he's controlled the whole match," Sharp said. "Today was different. I stepped up my game a little bit, gave it all my effort."
In the same way, Eagles coach Bill Damude viewed his team's result in the greater scope of the region schedule. With matches against Fort Dorchester and at Bluffton next week to determine which schools go to the playoffs, Damude was pleased with the effort.
This Eagles team has a different look than recent years. Less depth, especially in the heavier weights, despite coaches convincing some football players to come out another season.
The team's strength rests with its lightest wrestlers, with the remaining lineup formed as best as Damude and his staff can muster.
Beaufort High coaches called for more intensity this week during practice. When the whistle blows, drive them off the mat, they said.
Summerville labored for this victory, the outcome not decided until a 3-1 decision by Ngai Murray at 106.
"When we were down by 10 points going into the last three matches, we thought 'Man, we have a good opportunity here. This is not where Summerville expected to be,' " Damude said. "That was exciting for the kids to be in that situation."
Beaufort High got two pins in the first four matches.
Brahm Gideon's unexpected pin and six points at 132 allowed Beaufort High to think upset early. William Vallentin followed with a pin at 145 as Beaufort High maintained an early lead.
The Eagles didn't earn any more points until Mitchell Nestler's decision at 195, after a stretch of four consecutive Summerville wins. Beaufort High's Kentrell Seabrook, the No. 2 heavyweight in Class 4-A, added a first-period pin at 285.
Green Wave coach Darryl Tucker wasn't pleased with his team's effort.
"They came out with more energy than we did tonight," Tucker said. "That's unacceptable on our end."
Summerville 37, Beaufort High 26
Note: Match started at 126 pounds
106: Ngai Murray (S) dec. Kameron Spann, 3-1
113: James Sass (S) dec. Jake Sharp, 10-6
120: William Spann (B) tech. fall Justin Connelly
126: Tyler Fachko (S) tech. fall Jay Hawley
132: Brahm Gideon (B) pinned Austin Delaney, first period
138: Robert English (S) dec. Connor Gruel, 7-3
145: William Vallentin (B) pinned Cameron Sanpedro, first period
152: Daniel Smith (S) pinned A.J. Smalls, first period
160: Anthony Collins (S) major dec. Brian Lentz, 18-8
170: Chadwick Wood (S) pinned D.J. Singleton, first period
182: Corey Alumbaugh (S) dec. Eric Blakely, 7-3
195: Mitchell Nestler (B) dec. Robert Larson, 8-2
220: Julian Gibbs (S) major dec. Connor Lundgaard, 9-0
285: Kentrell Seabrook (B) pinned Devin Kicklighter, first period