A fitting tribute

Demons remember coach on rousing Senior Night

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Senior 160-pounder Henry Escamilla celebrated his 100th career win.

Senior 106-pounder Blake Edwards confirmed his pledge to win a state championship.

The Fike High senior wrestling quintet of Escamilla, Edwards, Linton Holmes, Isaiah Proctor and William Harris enjoyed a rousing Senior Night.

The Golden Demons thrashed North Johnston 73-0 and archrival Hunt 65-9 in a tri-match in the Fike High gymnasium.

But the evening was sobered by a tribute to deceased Fike head coach Mike Wickham following Hunt’s opening 72-6 rout of North Johnston of the 2-A Eastern Plains Conference.

Wickham, who passed away due to cancer last week, was the subject of a stirring eulogy delivered by interim head coach Brad Watson and assistant coach George Bancroft.

Wrestlers from Fike and North Johnston were presented T-shirts that read: “2 counties, 2 teams, 1 coach.”

The reference was to the fact Wickham coached at North Johnston from 2004-2010 and at Fike from 2011-2018.

“Yes, (Wickham) would be very happy,” declared Edwards, who boosted his record to 23-2 with a forfeit and technical fall. “He would be proud of all of us — especially the new guys. Some of them didn’t get to meet him, but they all knew he’s what started the program and made it as good as it is.”

Watson, who wrestled for Fike from 2008-11, tempered his excitement.

“(The occasion) went very well and I am very proud of the kids,” Watson said. “But I am not proud at all of our conduct. That’s something we can work on as a team — and we will. I’m about having excellent conduct. Mike would have been glad they (the Demons) won, but I don’t think he would have felt good about it.”

An energized turnout anticipated a more competitive match between 3-A Big East Conference rivals Fike and Hunt.

And the Warriors (10-6) opened with Christian Crudup posting a pin in less than a minute in the 120-pound match, the first to be contested.

However, the Demons responded with victories in the next 10 matches and claimed the final two by forfeit.

Taylor Gay, at 126; sophomore Garrett Weaver at 132, freshman Vincent Page at 138, Bancroft at 152, Proctor at 170, Joseph Speight at 182 and freshman Jaylen Bullock at 195 all registered pins.  Holmes notched a 19-4 technical fall at 145, while Harris emerged with a 12-8 decision at 220. Edwards and 113-pounder Jahmez Settles each won by forfeit.

Holmes elevated his 2017-18 record to 33-4, while Bancroft stands 34-2. In seizing career win No. 101, Escamilla climbed to 19-6 his senior season. Speight stands 31-6, while Settles in 20-8 and junior heavyweight Saula Rodriguez 22-13.

Edwards now boasts a 127-33 career record, while Holmes is 134-25, Escamilla 101-50, Proctor 79-30 and Harris 50-22. Escamilla picked up his 100th career win by forfeit against the Panthers.

“This is definitely a lot of relief,” Edwards admitted of dealing with the recent adversity. “We’ve got to keep going and doing what we’re doing. Our goal is to win the (North Carolina High School Athletic Association 3-A) state championship for our coach. We did good; we did the job.”

At Wickham’s funeral, Edwards announced his pledge to win the state championhip in his weight class.

“When I was a freshman, I told him I was going to win the state championship,” Edwards said. “And he’s going to know it when I do.”

Hunt’s other bright spot against Fike was junior heavyweight Latrell Ruffin, who held off Rodriguez to claim a 3-2 decision. Neither wrestler managed a point the final period.

“We are mostly freshmen and sophomores, and we did very well for the experience we have,” contended Hunt head coach Stephen Greer. “I was very satisfied with the way we wrestled. Fike is an excellent team with a lot of state qualifiers. They are a tough out any time you have to go against them.

“But we are building a program and we have twice as many wrestlers as we have had.”

The Warriors won all five contested matches against North Johnston. Crudup, at 120, 126-pounder Eddrell Cooper, 145-pounder Eddie Cooper, 195-pounder Shilick Sauls, 220-pounder Anthony Williamson and Ruffin all notched pins.Tyler Morrison, at 106, accounted for the Panthers’ only points via forfeit.

At 220, Alton Praff dropped a 13-7 decision against Fike.

Tri-match results


Results from Thursday night’s wrestling tri-match in the Fike High gym.


120 pounds — Christian Crudup (H) pin Robi Wood, 0:42.

126 — Taylor Gay (F) pin Eddrell Cooper, 2:56.

132 — Garrett Weaver (F) pin Cole Williamson 3:36.

138 — Vincent Page (F) pin Daniel Massey, 3:10.

145 — Linton Holmes (F) sup. dec. vs. Justin Rankin, 19-4.

152 — Aaron Bancroft (F) pin Gage Motola, 2:22.

160 — Henry Escamilla (F) maj. dec. vs. Nick Arias, 20-7.

170 — Isaiah Proctor (F) pin Carlos Gonzalez, 3:08.

182 — Joseph Speight (F) pin Chris Silva, 3:25.

195 ‚— Jaylen Bullock (F) pin Shilick Sauls, 1:54.

220 — William Harris (F) dec. Anthony Williamson, 12-8.

285 — Latrell Ruffin (H) dec. Saula Rodriguez, 3-2.

106 — Blake Edwards (F) by forfeit.

113 — Jahmez Settles (F) by forfeit.



113 — Settles (F) by forfeit.

120 — Gay (F) sup. dec. vs. Alex Cooper, 21-3.

126 — Weaver (F) by forfeit.

132 — Page (F) by forfeit.

138 — Double forfeit.

145 — Holmes (F) pin Ausstin Lee, 2:39.

152 — Bancroft (F) by forfeit.

160 — Escamilla (F) by forfeit.

170 — Speight (F) by forfeit.

182 — Proctor (F) by forfeit

195 — Jadaris Williams (F) by forfeit.

220 — Harris (F) dec. Alton Praff,  13-7.

285 — Rodriguez (F) pin Josh Barber, 3:22.

106 — Edwards (F) sup. dec. vs. Tyler Morrison, 16-1.



106 — Morrison (NJ) by forfeit.

113 — Double forfeit.

120 — Crudup (H) pin A. Cooper, 4:34.

126 — E. Cooper (H) pin Graham Walston, 1:28.

132 — C. Williamson (H) by forfeit.

138 — Massey (H) by forfeit.

145 — Eddie Cooper (H) pin Lee, 3:45.

152 — Motola (H) by forfeit.

160 — Arias (H) by forfeit.

170 — Gonzalez (H) by forfeit.

182 — Silva (H) by forfeit.

195 — Sauls (H) pin Parker Hayes, 2:25.

220 — A. Williamson (H) pin Praff, 3:36.

285 — Ruffin (H) pin Barber, 1:06.

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