By Kenton Brooks
Phoenix Sports Writer
Muskogee High’s Dawaylon Barnes hasn’t forgotten his last match against Broken Arrow’s Tanner Bailey.
“I faced him at Broken Arrow last year and he beat me 4-0,” Barnes said of facing the defending Class 6A tournament champion.
The two will wrestle at 145 pounds in one of the featured matches of the Roughers’ season-opening dual tonight at Ron Milam Memorial Gym to open the regular season. Varsity matches will begin at about 7 p.m.
Barnes has his plan in mind for the match.
“I was too cautious in that match. I’m going to open up and wrestle my style in this match. I know what I’m going to do,” he said.
“My style is to wear him out with lots of motion and then try to break him. I’m ready to go. I’m not afraid.”
Barnes and Jacobe Smith became the first Muskogee duo to earn All-American honors in the same year at the USA Wrestling Cadet and Junior National Tournament this summer in Fargo, N.D.
In winning state a year ago, Bailey helped the Tigers win their third consecutive tournament team state title.
Smith doesn’t expect his match against Bailey’s brother Peyton at 152 to be any easier.
“He doesn’t like to take shots and waits for you to take a bad one and to take advantage of it,” Smith said.
Smith lost to Peyton Bailey in freestyle competition during the summer, but tonight’s matches are under the collegiate style. Points are awarded for takedowns and riding time in collegiate style and Smith said that he’s better in that format.
“I have to be aggressive,” Jacobe Smith said. “I’m going to rely on my toughness to win the match.”
MHS coach Bobby Jefferson said the Roughers will need to muster all of their toughness to get the victory. BA lost dual state by one point last year to Tulsa Union.
“We’ll get to see where we are right away,” he said. “I haven’t seen any preseason rankings, but I don’t know who would be ahead of Broken Arrow. They have tough kids.”
J.T. Andrews (160), one of two seniors on the squad along with Nigel Harris, doesn’t mind being the underdog.
“I’m comfortable with it,” he said. “I’m going to have fun with it. We’ve been thinking about this match since the end of last year. Everybody’s going to be on the same page and do what we can to win tonight.”