Joseph Hooks

Tallassee’s Joseph Hooks and Jasper’s Luke Horsley battle in the Class 5A duals 172-pound match. (AHSAA PHOTO | Marvin Gentry)

The Tallassee wrestling team came up just short in the AHSAA Class 5A duals state championship on Friday night.

Jasper beat Tallassee, 38-33, in the championship match at Bill Harris Arena in Birmingham. The Tigers led, 33-32, after 13 matches but dropped the final match of the night to suffer the loss.

It’s the first championship win for Jasper in 52 years.

Much like the semifinal win over Gulf Shores earlier in the week, Tallassee went back-and-forth with its opponent for the entire match. Jasper started the championship off with back-to-back wins to go up, 10-0, but Tallassee won three consecutive matches on pins to take the lead.

Ethan Jones pinned his opponent in the 140-pound match, Land Bell pinned his opponent in the 147-pound match, and Christian McCary pinned his opponent in the 154-pound class.

Jones and Bell each secured their pins in the third round of the match, while McCary made quick work of his opponent with a in only a minute and a half into the first period.

That gave Tallassee an 18-10 lead after five matches.

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Jasper responded by winning five of the next six matches to take a 32-23 lead. The lone win for the Tigers during that span was senior captain Caden Griffith in the 184-pound class. He won 17-2 and secured a technical fall to give his team five points.

During that span, however, Jasper recorded two pins in the 162-pound class and the 287-pound class. With Jasper up by nine points, 32-23, the lineups rotated back down to the smallest wrestlers on each team.

Tallassee senior Rutland Phillips did what he has all season and earned a quick pin only 75 seconds into the first period to cut the lead back down to three points, 32-29.

Mason Nelson, in the 115-pound class, then earned a major decision with a 9-0 victory and gave Tallassee a 33-32 lead with one weight class left.

That made the 122-pound match a winner-take-all event, and Tallassee sent seventh grader Brady Adams out to face Cortez Samuels, the No. 2-ranked wrestler in the weight class.

Samuels was able to score a quick five points on a takedown and near fall in the first period, then eventually secured a takedown of Tallassee’s Adams in the second period. The fall gave Jasper the 38-33 and the win.