Jameson gets best of Skaggs at Hephner

The match should help each wrestler sharpen up for



AUSTINTOWN — After four years of wrestling at a lot of the same tournaments, but never squaring off against each other, two of the Valley’s premier wrestlers finally met for the first time Saturday night at Fitch High.

Three-time Division I state champion Tony Jameson took on Jackson-Milton’s Joe Skaggs, a two-time Div. III state qualifier, in the 145-pound championship match at the Joshua Hephner Memorial Tournament.

It was an intriguing match-up featuring a contrast in styles with Jameson’s technical abilities against Skaggs’ power and brawling style.

In the end, it was Jameson’s athleticism that dominated the match, as the senior scored five takedowns, while Skaggs struggled to mount any offense. Jameson secured an impressive 19-3 victory to earn his fourth straight Hephner championship.

The loss was the first of the season for Skaggs (26-1).

“I was a little nervous because he is a three-time state champion,” said Skaggs, who took second in the state in 2006 at 135 pounds. “I just tried to score some points and do what I needed to win. He just kept pushing me and catching me for takedowns.

“I needed a beating like this to push me harder and make me want to go out and win some more matches. Not finishing as well as I wanted to last year pushes me to want to do better this year.”

Jameson took a 4-0 lead in the first period with two takedowns. Skaggs was down 8-0 before finally getting an escape to trim the deficit to 8-1. But Jameson kept pressing and continued scoring with takedowns and back points.

Jameson wasn’t sure if he’d get the opportunity to wrestle Skaggs, but when the match came around he looked forward to the challenge.

“We’ve been wrestling in the same tournaments for four years and we’re buds,” said Jameson. “He’s definitely stronger than me, so I tried to stay out of his over and under. I knew that if I made a wrong move, I might end up on my back.

“I’m feeling like I’m where I want to be now and my conditioning is getting better. This tournament isn’t for the wrestlers or the coaches, it’s for the Hephners. I love being here and even people not from Fitch like it, too. It’s for the family.”

Jameson and Skaggs could stage a rematch next weekend at the EOWL Tournament at Canfield. No matter the outcome in Round 2, the match should help each wrestler sharpen up for sectionals which begin two weeks later.