Dabvn Wadley celebrates after winning state championship

Wadley Wins State Championship – MatDawgs Place Five More

Lyons, GA. – February 23, 2024 | Coach Todd Allen

As dust settles and the final whistle blows at the 2023-2024 GHSA State Championships, the Toombs County MatDawgs ended their season on a high note. A stellar season for the MatDawgs culminated at the Macon Coliseum as Dabvn Wadley reached the State Championship finals match at 144 lbs. Wadley entered the tournament as the GHSA AA Section B champion, receiving a bye in the first round at the State Tournament. Wadley had no easy route to the final match. His second round match pitted him against a Calloway opponent he was familiar with from the sectional tournament. Wadley made quick work with a fall in 42 seconds. Ironically, his semi-finals match would be a rematch of the 3rd and 4th place match from the 2022-23 State Championships, where Wadley fell to Caleb Blair of Murray County. The outcome was much different from the previous season as Wadley showed significant improvements advancing with a 4-2 score. “I expected Dabvn to see [Caleb] Blair in the semis. He is a good wrestler. We had a good game plan heading into the match. I was confident Dabvn would execute it.”, said Coach Allen of Wadley’s semi-final match.

Wadley entered the state finals match against freshman Paxon Legatt of Union County. Legatt had surmounted an exceptional resume throughout the season racking up 52 wins and only 5 losses enroute to the state finals match. The match did not disappoint as it ended the first period 0-0. In the second period Legatt chose bottom and earned a quick escape and takedown going up 3-0. This was matched, however, with a reversal and Wadley taking Legatt to his back in the finals seconds of the second period bringing the score to 4-3, with Wadley ahead going into the third period. “At the beginning of the 3rd period I questioned everything we had done throughout the season, it was like the movies. Did we prepare Dabvn for this? Was he ready for this kind of test? Did he have the stamina to fend off the barrage of attacks about to come from this kid? It is an intense moment because you can’t go back and redo anything. What is done, is done. We just hope we prepared him for this moment.” said Coach Allen of the lead up into the final period of the match. 

Wadley proved his training and hard work was enough as he went on bottom for the 3rd period. Wadley earned an escape point 38 seconds into the 3rd period to go up 5-3. The moment Coach Allen was referring to had arrived as Legatt began pressing the action. Attack after attack Wadley defended. At one point it seemed as though Wadley was overwhelmed as the two charged out of bounds. Wadley, with his head gear over his eyes, needed some assistance from Coach Allen to fix the equipment. Coach Allen recalled that moment,  “I knew Dabvn needed a bit of a reset in that moment. It was getting super intense and at that point Dabvn wasn’t looking great. I ran over to him and gave him a little pep talk, some advice, and told him to finish the period strong.” Strong was an understatement, as Wadley “iced” the moment. With one minute left in the 3rd period Wadley left no doubt as he hit a “duck-under” to a body lock, lifting Legatt in the air and returning him to the mat to seal the 7-3 victory. Dabvn expressed his thanks and appreciation saying, “Thanks to all my wrestling partners and coaches who got me better everyday and my friends and family who supported me. The experience was a dream come true and I finally accomplished a real goal that I set for myself. It showed me that if you work hard enough for something it’s possible, you just have to believe. You might fail once or twice but you have to keep working and keep believing in yourself.”

The MatDawgs had impressive finishes from five other competitors throughout the championships. Brock Nobles finished his high school career as a two time All-State heavyweight earning another spot on the podium in 5th place, Gailan Wilds finished his senior campaign reaching the podium in 4th place, Robert Bruce Agzigian finished in 4th place, Tyson Brantley finished in 3rd place, and Wyatt Bunch finished in 3rd place. 

Coach Allen had this to say about the five others that reached the podium, “I could tell you numerous stories about all five of these men. Stories of heartache, adversity, trials, let downs, and accomplishments that led up to this tournament. All five of these wrestlers have been tested to the max and met challenges head on. I am proud of them and their accomplishments and hope this catapults them to reach greater things in life.”

The MatDawg wrestlers finish their 2023-2024 season with a number of things to be proud of. In addition to the following accolades, the senior group was instrumental in consecutive top five finishes in both team duals and traditional state championships, as well as bringing home a championship culture to Toombs County. Congratulations MatDawgs!!

2023-2024 Team Accomplishments

Raja Bryan Memorial – 4th

Yellow Jacket Duals – 7th (Gold Bracket)

Onion City Invite – 2nd 

Shamrock Shuffle – 2nd

Rivalry Dual Champions

Port City Nigel Hamilton Memorial – 4th

Area Dual Champions

GHSA AA State Dual Runner-Ups

GHSA AA – Area 3 Champions

GHSA AA – Section B Champions

GHSA AA – State Championships – 4th 

Individual State Place Winners – 6

Individual State Champions – 1