To the surprise of no one, the Orange Wrestling team will be in the same bracket as powerhouse Eden Morehead in the 3-A state dual playoffs, which begin tomorrow.
The opening two rounds will take place tomorrow at Morehead High School. Orange will open against Big 8 rival Chapel Hill, who the Panthers defeated 64-7 on Wednesday to win the conference championship.
The Morehead Panthers, 14-0 on the season, will face Terry Sanford in the first round. The winners of the respective dual matches will immediately face each other in the 2nd round.
If Orange-Morehead lock up, it will be the 5th consecutive year they’ve met in the state playoffs. Last year, Morehead defeated Orange 39-21 at Chapel Hill High on its way to its 2nd consecutive 3-A Eastern Regional championship. Fred T. Foard defeated the Panthers to win the state championship.
In 2014, Morehead also defeated Orange 46-24 on its way to the 3-A state championship, where they defeated Fred T. Foard for the title.
Morehead claimed another victory over the Panthers in the 2nd round in 2012, 34-31. In 2012, Orange defeated Morehead to win the Eastern Regional championship 40-20. Two days later, they would claim the state championship with a 32-30 victory over Southwest Randolph.
Morehead’s depth gives them another chance to claim a state championship. According to Retrorankings.com, MHS has eight grapplers ranked in the top 15 in 3-A for their respective weight classes, including Mike Jones (138) at #2, Jadakiss Jumper (145) at #1, Ben Bullins (170) #1, Will Dabbs (182) #2, and Tyler Dabbs (160) #9.
Orange has senior Joe Scott ranked #4 at 152.
A potential Orange-Morehead meeting brings about plenty of interesting individual matches, including Orange’s Bailey Hawkins vs. Morehead’s Zane Hairston at 120; Scott vs. Morehead’s Gideon Biggs at 152; Tyler Dabbs vs. Josiah Ramirez at 160 and Will Dabbs vs. Juan Torres at 182.
Hillsboroughsports.com will televise Orange’s matches tomorrow via Parascope. Look up Jeff Hamlin on Periscope for your smart phone or mobile device, and you can follow the day live.