“He is one of the kids when we need a pin or need a win, he is one that we can count on. There are a handful of guys that are like that on this team, and it was exciting to get that win.”
Allen scored the pin to give the Raiders a 33-30 victory, and LaFayette, who had wrestled Gilmer for the title and fell into the wrestlebacks, was the last obstacle.
“We beat Cass and we were coming off of a win with a lot of momentum,” Herndon said. “LaFayette was coming off of a loss, and I think our guys used that to their advantage.”
The Raiders held steady in a back-and-forth match and led 33-28 going into the last match, and Andrew Miranda scored a 6-2 win to seal the contest and the spot in the state duals for what Herndon believed was the first time in school history.
“We feel great to finally go to state,” Allen said. “People will respect us now. They know that we aren’t just those guys that show up. It is a great feeling to get that respect.”
It was a performance that drew praise from a lot of the opposition as well.
“Those boys just kept battling and battling and battling,” Northwest coach Allen Tucker said. “After we lost to them, it was a lot of fun seeing them just keep fighting and fighting.”
Individually, Allen was 5-0 in the tournament with four pins. Lester Paucay at 152 and Carlos Fraire at 220 were both 4-0 with Fraire picking up three pins. Jesus Dominguez (120) was 4-1 with three pins, while Aaron Thomas (126) and Jose Marir (285) were both 3-2 with a pair of pins. It was Marir’s first tournament of the year after wrestling behind Fraire for most of the year before Fraire cut weight to 220.
State duals are Jan. 10-12 in Macon.
Northwest advanced with a 52-24 win over the rival Catamounts. Alex Reynolds (145), Dalton Ayers (152) and Jordan Pittman (182) each went 2-0 on Saturday for the Bruins.
Dalton got wins in its match with Northwest from Dylan Carlile (126), Brian Nunez (132) and Sidney Wheeler (170). Northwest also forfeited a weight class.