High School Sports

HHH wrestlers finish perfect run through region

Campbell Miller isn't a flashy wrestler. He's not expressive or showy, and he often keeps his emotions hidden throughout the course of a match.

To put it simply, he's quietly steady -- so consistent that his coach, Hilton Head High's Mike Newton, says he's often overlooked.

But there was no way to ignore Miller's performance on Wednesday against rival Bluffton High School.

The Seahawks senior recorded a second-period pin against Johnny Kautter at 140 pounds, breaking an early tie and propelling the Seahawks to a 37-21 victory in the Bobcats' gym on Wednesday night. Hilton Head High rounded out its perfect Region 7-AAA season and kept Bluffton without a region victory.

The teams fought to a 12-12 tie through six of 14 matches, but Campbell's pin jump-started the Seahawks, who won six of the final eight bouts to seal the win.

"I definitely felt like I had to do something big to get our team going," Miller said. "We knew we were already in the playoffs no matter what happened, but still, it's Bluffton -- we want to come out here and put on a show."

The show wasn't quite as convincing as they had hoped, but its ending was satisfactory nonetheless.

The two teams split decisions in the first six matches -- despite the night starting with the lower weights, a strength for the Seahawks.

And it could have been even more interesting. Bluffton freshman Alex Waddell came within a couple of inches of pinning state-ranked Nick Tennison in the second period of their 119-pound bout, but Tennison managed an escape before pinning Waddell 15 seconds later. The reversal resulted in a 12-point swing.

"I didn't want (to get pinned) in front of our fans and theirs," Tennison said. "I felt like I was lucky getting out. .. I think when I did, he was pretty demoralized. I could feel that in him. That's when I did what I had to do."

The turnaround swung the momentum of the entire night back in the Seahawks' favor, and their bench reacted as such, proving the match -- meaningless in the region standings -- still meant something to the rivals.

The Seahawks entered Wednesday having already clinched the league's top seed, while the Bobcats already had been eliminated from postseason consideration.

"A flag football game against these guys would have been competitive," Newton said. "Nobody wanted to come over here and lose."

Few Seahawks did lose.

In addition to Miller and Tennison, Label Lewis (112), Chris Ordonez (135), Aaron Facenda (145), Khalil Lewis (160), Lewis McKeliver (171), Nick Bautista (189) and Doug Bell (285) also won for the Seahawks.

The Bobcats won five matches: Lloyd Williams (103), Austin Farmer (125), Christian Farmer (130), Jason Williams (152) and Manuel Lopez (189).

Bluffton coach John Hollman praised the effort of his team following the match.

"We had young guys tonight that acted like men," Hollman said. "They could've come out like deer in headlights. Instead, they wrestled like men, and that shows their character."

The Bobcats will wrap up their season Friday against Berkeley with a chance to win their first region match of the year.

It will conclude a drama-filled season for Bluffton that resulted in four impact wrestlers not finishing the year with the team. Hollman declined the chance to elaborate, but said injuries and discipline were "a couple of the many factors."

"It's been the most difficult season that I've endured in my entire life as a human being," Hollman said. "... The most frustrating thing is knowing we have four or five guys in the hallways that could have really helped us."

The Seahawks' season will march on. They have a full week of rest ahead before hosting the first round of the Class 3-A playoffs Wednesday -- and they will carry plenty of momentum into the postseason.

In the last eight days, they have notched wins against their two biggest county rivals -- Bluffton and Battery Creek -- and won a 14-team tournament at Groves High School in Savannah.

"I'm really looking forward to it because of the way we've been wrestling," Newton said. "We've wrestled really well for the last couple of weeks, and we looked good again tonight. I think we're ready for the playoffs."

Hilton Head High 37, Bluffton 21

103: Lloyd Williams (B) def. David Waddell, 2-1.

112: Label Lewis (HHH) def. Levi Joly, 9-3.

119: Nick Tennison (HHH) pinned Alex Waddell, second period.

125: Austin Farmer (B) pinned Richard Jenkins, second period.

130: Christian Farmer (B) def. Matt Johns, 7-3.

135: Chris Ordonez (HHH) def. Michael Meyerink, 7-3.

140: Campbell Miller (HHH) pinned Johnny Kautter, second period.

145: Aaron Facenda (HHH) major dec. Derrick Frazier, 15-7.

152: Jason Williams (B) def. Seth Anthony, 11-8.

160: Khalil Lewis (HHH) def. Harry Chirinos, 2-1.

171: Lewis McKeliver (HHH) def. Kyle Waddell, 11-6.

189: Manuel Lopez (B) pinned JC Graham, third period.

215: Nick Bautista (HHH) pinned Isai Hernandez, first period.

285: Doug Bell (HHH) def. Zach Maloney, 1-0.

Note: Match started at 103 pounds