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Cougars can't end win streak


© St. Petersburg Times, published January 12, 2003

BRANDON -- The streak was extended to 364 consecutive victories by Brandon after beating Countryside 40-15 in the final of the Graves "Challenge the Streak" tournament on Saturday.

In the match that attracted more than 1,000 fans to Brandon's gym. Brandon clinched the victory after the 11th match, when heavyweight Keith Simmons pinned Toby Hartranet at 1:12 of the first period.

The pin, third in a row for the Eagles from 189-275 pounds, gave Brandon a 33-12 lead with three matches left.

Matt Juncal, a senior two-time state champion at 189, started the pins.

"We set up death row by the upperweights," Juncal said. "We knew the three pins in a row would give the team 18 points and preserve the streak putting to rest any chance of losing tonight. Turns out we were able to do just that."

Rashad Goff (215) and Keith Simmons (275) had the other pins.

Except for the three pins, the match was very close.

"The one thing we needed to turn the match around was a few large athletes," Countryside coach Dave Frayer said. "All the other matches were close. Some their way and some our way, but this match was good for wrestling. I hope we can keep this going. Even if the streak falls, this is great wrestling."

The only other pin of the match was at 152, when Brandon's Rocky Cozart pinned Nick Attinella at 5:27.

"From the beginning I wanted to score the pin, but he wasn't easy to move," Cozart said. "We knew Countryside had a very good team, and they do.

"This was a tough match for everyone, but that is good wrestling."

"I told our guys before coming out on the mat, Countryside is a great team, and the match could get ragged for us," Brandon coach Russ Cozart said. "I told them not to stop if one of our guys gets beat."

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