Down, 32-18, with only three matches remaining, the North Putnam wrestling team was up against the ropes. Only the 189-pound, 215-pound and heavyweight classes could bring North Putnam to victory over South Putnam.
Levi Eilliot, who usually wrestles in the 171-pound division, was set to wrestle in the 189-pound division. Jacob Stigall, who usually wrestles in the 189 pound division, was set to wrestle in the 215 pound division. Both wrestlers put aside personal interests to do what's best for the team.
"That's what it's about," North Putnam Coach Kenny Kerns said. "And that's how we won, by those to boys moving up like that."
Both Elliot and Stigall won their respective weight classes, followed by an Emmett Boruff first-period pin. The trio of North Putnam grapplers lifted the Cougars over the Eagles Wednesday, 36-32, in the waning moments of the contest.
"I've got great upperclassmen, I really do," Kerns said. "They're just fantastic. I'm really happy with them."
North Putnam trailed the entire meet, being forced to forfeit the 103-pound division, and 140-pound division.
"They gave us points on forfeits tonight, but we didn't take advantage of it," South Putnam Coach Scott Miller said. "It's obvious that we still have some work to do to get in a position to win."
With South Putnam winning, 6-0, the Cougars' Jacob Smith won at the 119-pound weight class by a 16-8 decision, closing the Cougars' deficit to 6-4. Seth Green stretched the lead to 12-4 in the 125-pound weight class, pinning North Putnam's Bren Donaldson in the third period.
"Seth Green was impressive tonight," Miller said. "They moved some guys around to try and take advantage of what they thought they could take advantage of, and he didn't allow it to happen."
After the forfeit to Bo Jackson the South Putnam lead was at 22-8. However, consecutive wins by B.J. Brewer and A.J. Brewer brought North Putnam back in the meet.
"Knowing that they were strong in their upper weight classes, it really hurt us losing at 119, 145 and 152," Miller said.
South Putnam's Brad Bunten defeated Alex Lance, followed by Josh Sanders pinning Jim Davis to bring the Eagles' lead to 32-18.
However, the big three for North Putnam wouldn't let the Cougars lose.
"North Putnam wrestled hard," Miller said. "I thought we did too. We just let it get away from us."
Although the Cougars came away with a victory, Kerns wasn't exactly pleased with his team's effort.
"I don't know what it is, but something just wasn't right," Kerns said. "I don't know if we've got an attitude problem or what, but we'll find out tomorrow night in practice. We'll have a meeting to find out what's going on."
Both teams will face off in the County Tournament, starting at 5:30 p.m. at Cloverdale High School Thursday
In the meantime, both coaches will be working to improve their teams.
"Everything we do, we need to continue to work on," Miller said. "We need to work on our take downs. We need to work on our conditioning. We're not in a position yet to beat a team as good as North Putnam."
Kerns is not complacent either.
"I'm just going to have to go back to page one," he said. "We're going to go back to basics, a little technique work and just keep drilling, drilling, drilling."
At South Putnam
North Putnam 36, South Putnam 32
103 -- Vaughn (SP) win by forfeit.
119 -- Smith (NP) dec. Hunter, 16-8
125 -- Green (SP) pin Donaldson (NP)
130 -- Spencer (NP) dec. Ames (SP), 12-3
135 -- Parrish (SP) dec. Humphries (NP), 17-4
140 -- Jackson (SP) win by forfeit
145 -- B. Brewer (NP) pin Parrish (SP)
152 -- A. Brewer (NP) dec. Parker (SP),16-6
160 -- Bunton (SP) dec. Lance (NP), 19-5
171 -- Sanders (SP) pin. Davis (NP)
189 -- Elliot (NP) pin Terry (SP)
215 -- Stigall (NP) pin Crafton (SP)
275 -- Boruff (NP) pin Snellenberger (SP)
Next meets -- Both teams compete in the Putnam County Tourney Thursday at Cloverdale at 5:30 p.m.