Well, two of the top wrestling programs in the state are back in the same classification, as the Class AA State Dual meet gets underway on Friday at the Macon Centreplex — with a possible finals matchup featuring the pair of powerhouses.
Even though there is plenty to get done before making the finals, that matchup is in the back of Blue Devil coach Tony Armas' mind.
"If we're lucky enough to get to the finals, it's going to be Jefferson. They're very, very solid. They dropped a one-pointer two weeks ago to the No. 15 team in the nation. Basically, they needed to win the coin flip and make a presentation change in their lineup and couldn't get it done. They didn't win the coin flip, so they sort of had to show their hand. I think that was the difference," Armas said.
To start things off, the Blue Devils will take on Fitzgerald, which finished runner-up to East Laurens in Area 1-AA. The Blue Devil coach knows a little about the area — his wife is from Fitzgerald — but not much about the team it is fielding this year.
"They've been very successful in the past, and I'm sure they'll be solid and ready to go ... We've got to take care of Fitzgerald first," Armas said.
Of course, at this point, there are certain expectations formed for the Bremen wrestling program, and that doesn't expect to change by having to face a team that has won a state title every year the dual format has been in the GHSA. The goal is to win another title and then get ready for the traditional meet in February.
"We've been real fortunate. We've made it every year there's been a state tournament. There's been state duals since 2002, so this will be our 11th time qualifying. We've won it three times, finished second five times and we've been third a few times," Armas said. "It's Bremen — we have a certain level of expectations. We're going to go down there and try and do the best we can and hopefully they'll hand us the last trophy they give out. If they do, they do. If they don't, they don't. We've still got some time to get straightened out for the traditional state tournament."
The Dragons and Blue Devils have met since moving in different classifications, but there's nothing that compares to battling for a state title.
"Jefferson, they beat us out of the state tournament in 2002, 2003 and ['04] and ['05] and ['06] and ['07] and ['08], so we've been eliminated out of the championship round by Jefferson six or seven times," Armas said. "We wrestled a dual meet with them in 2009, but it just wasn't the same. [Jefferson coach] Doug [Thurmond] and I said it just didn't have the same intensity."
Even though Jefferson may be the gold standard for dual wrestling in the state of Georgia, the Bremen coach isn't willing to hand it another crown just yet. This could be the year Bremen has its number and gets to knock the Dragons out of the championship round for a change.
"I know they're going to be good, but we have some solid kids and we'll see what we can get done. I think we've got kids that can wrestle with anybody. We've got to have some kids, if we get to that point, come through and have everybody come together as a group, chip in where they can chip in, stay off their back where they can stay off their back," Armas said.
Bremen's match with Fitzgerald will begin at 1:15 p.m., with the semifinals taking place at 5 p.m. on Friday.