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Athletes Beyond Bartow: Lawrence suffers injury, collegiate wrestlers shine in Vegas

December 4, 2023 Charles Wilson /

A pair of former Woodland High wrestlers earned runner-up finishes this past weekend at the Cliff Keen Las Vegas Collegiate Invitational. The tournament annually showcases some of the best wrestlers and programs in the nation. Caleb Henson and Jaxon Smith both reached the finals in their respective weight classes. In other news Monday night, former Cartersville High quarterback Trevor Lawrence had to leave the Jaguars' game with the Cincinnati Bengals due to injury.


Trevor Lawrence

TREVOR LAWRENCE — Jacksonville Jaguars (NFL; 3rd-yr. pro; QB; Clemson; Cartersville HS) … left Monday night’s game against the Cincinnati Bengals with 5:25 remaining in the fourth quarter with an apparent lower leg injury. The quarterback’s right leg was bent awkwardly on a third down play. It appeared his left tackle, Walker Little, stepped on Lawrence’s left ankle. After trying to get back to his feet, a visibly upset Lawrence went back down. He slammed his helmet to the turf immediately and was helped off the field by trainers and into the Jacksonville locker room. The Jaguars were driving and were just outside the red zone when the injury occurred. After he left the game, Jacksonville missed a 48-yard field goal attempt in a 28-28 game. C.J. Beathard took over at quarterback for the Jags on their next possession. Before the incident, Lawrence was 22-for-29 passing for 258 yards and two touchdowns. He also had five rushing attempts for eight yards and one touchdown. The game went to overtime with the Bengals winning 34-31. Jacksonville (8-4) plays at the Cleveland Browns on Sunday afternoon.


Ashton Hagans

ASHTON HAGANS — Rip City Remix (4th yr. pro; Cartersville native; Kentucky; Newton HS) … started both games and totaled 22 points, nine assists, five rebounds, three steals, and one blocked shot as the Remix split games last Friday and Saturday at the Santa Cruz Warriors. Rip City (5-5) has games on Thursday and Saturday at home in Portland with the Stockton Kings.


Shadre Hurst

SHADRE HURST — Tulane University (R-Fr., Cartersville HS) … a starter on the Green Wave’s offensive line that helped produce 238 total yards and outgained the Mustangs but lost 26-14 at home in the American Athletic Conference Championship Game. Tulane (11-2) will play Virginia Tech on Wednesday, Dec. 27 in the Military Bowl in Annapolis, Maryland.

SAM PHILLIPS — UT-Chattanooga (R-So., Cartersville HS) … had two receptions for 13 yards this past Saturday but the Mocs were eliminated by Furman 26-7 in the second round of the FCS playoffs. Phillips started every game this season for UTC and finished the season with 60 catches for 624 yards and four touchdowns. He also had a pair of punt returns for 38 yards. The Mocs finished the year with an 8-5 mark.

DEVONTE ROSS — Troy University (So., Cartersville HS) … had two catches for 12 yards this past Saturday as the host Trojans beat Appalachian State 49-23 to win the Sun Belt Conference Championship Game. Troy (11-2) will play Duke in the Birmingham Bowl on Saturday, Dec. 23.


Caleb Henson

CALEB HENSON — Virginia Tech (So., Woodland HS) … went 4-1 and finished runner-up in the 149-pound weight class at the Cliff Keen Las Vegas Invitational. Henson had wins over opponents from Ohio University, South Dakota State, Cal Poly, and Arizona State before a loss to Nebraska’s Ridge Lovett by a 4-3 score in the finals. Up next for Virginia Tech is a home dual with Stanford on Sunday, December 17.

BRYCE KRESHO — Franklin & Marshall College (So., Cass HS) … the Diplomats went 3-1 Sunday with wins over VMI, Presbyterian, and Bloomsburg. Their only loss was to Michigan State in the five-team duals. Kresho, wrestling at 141-pounds, won his bout during a 34-9 victory over Presbyterian. Franklin & Marshall returns to the mats on December 22 at the Sheridan Invitational in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania.

TYLER McKNIGHT — Davidson College (Fr., Cass HS) … in a pair of team losses for the Wildcats, McKnight won both of his bouts in the 149-pound weight class. He defeated his opponents from George Mason and American University. Davidson hosts Duke on Friday night.

Jaxon Smith

JAXON SMITH — University of Maryland (So., Woodland HS) … took home second place in the illustrious Cliff Keen Las Vegas Invitational, widely regarded as the most competitive regular season tournament. Smith started Day Two in the semifinals where he put on an impressive showing in knocking off top-seeded and third-ranked Tanner Sloan of South Dakota State. Smith got the match's scoring started with a super duck takedown. In the second period, he converted an impressive feet-to-back mat return that resulted in four near-fall points and gave him a commanding 7-1 lead that he never surrendered, taking the match by way of an 8-2 decision. Sloan is a four-time NCAA qualifier and was the 2022-23 NCAA runner-up at 197 pounds. That propelled him into the championship match where he faced NC State's second-seeded and fifth-ranked Trent Hidlay. Smith battled hard, but a Hidlay takedown was the difference, as Smith fell 5-2. Maryland returns to action on Sunday at Morgan State.

JABRIL WILLIAMS — Midway University (Jr., Cartersville HS) … competing at 165 pounds, Williams went 4-1 in his bouts and the Eagles went 3-2 as a team Saturday at the Blithe Memorial Duals in Grand Rapids, Michigan. Midway lost to Wisconsin-Eau Claire and St. Ambrose University before defeating Siena Heights University, Wheaton College, and Muskegon CC. Williams' only loss was to his Wisconsin-Eau Claire opponent. The Eagles host Brewton-Parker College, Kentucky Wesleyan, and Thomas More University on Saturday.


BRAXTON BENHAM — Berry College (Jr., Cass HS) … scored 17 points and had six steals, five rebounds, and three assists this past Saturday in a 79-74 loss at Oglethorpe University. He also scored eight points with eight assists, six rebounds, three steals, and one blocked shot last Wednesday in an 85-83 home loss to Maryville College (Tennessee). The Vikings (2-5, 0-1 Southern Athletic Association play at Mary Hardin-Baylor in Texas on Tuesday, December 19.

ZAYLAN CHANEY — Tallahassee CC (So., Cartersville resident; Legacy Academy) … scored 14 points and grabbed four rebounds with one assist last Tuesday in a 100-75 win at Gordon State College. He then scored 26 points with two rebounds and one steal Sunday in a 90-78 home loss to Daytona State CC. The Eagles (8-2) play Eastern Florida State and Copiah-Lincoln CC on Friday and Saturday in the Northwest Florida Classic in Niceville, Florida.

CLAIRE DAVIS — Palm Beach Atlantic University (So., Cass HS) … scored 14 points at Barry University last Wednesday and scored six Saturday at home against Rollins College — both losses for the Sailfish. Davis also totaled four rebounds and one assist in the two games. PBAU (3-4, 0-2 Sunshine State Conference) entertains the University of Mount Olive on Saturday.

JUSTICE HAYES — Point University (Jr., Cass HS) … in two home starts last week on Thursday and Saturday against Loyola (Louisiana) and the University of Mobile, Hayes did not score but totaled five rebounds, two assists, and two steals. Point (5-5, 0-4 Appalachian Athletic Conference) play at LaGrange College on Wednesday and visit Clark Atlanta on Saturday.

DiANTHONY HEATHCOCK — Columbia International University (Sr., Woodland HS) … posted a double-double Saturday in an 80-76 win at Kentucky Christian. The starting 6-7 forward had 13 points, 13 rebounds, and blocked one shot in the win. He also scored 15 points with seven rebounds, and one assist last Wednesday in an 85-84 loss at Johnson University (Tenn.). The Rams (7-4, 6-1 Appalachian Athletic Conference) visit Milligan University on Wednesday night and 12th-ranked Union College (Ky.) on Saturday.

HALEY JOHNSON — Central Georgia Tech CC (So., Cass HS) … scored 14 points, collected eight rebounds, and had four steals, three assists, and one blocked shot in a 61-34 home win last Wednesday over Southern Union State CC. The Titans (2-7) play a home exhibition on Saturday afternoon against Fort Valley State University.

KEARA McDANIEL — Toccoa Falls College (So., Cass HS) … scored seven points with two rebounds and three assists Saturday as the Screamin’ Eagles won 86-51 at Wesleyan College. She also scored one point last Wednesday in a 69-60 home loss to Carolina University. Toccoa Falls (8-2) plays at Carolina University Thursday night.

T.J. PRINTUP — Tusculum University (R-Fr., Adairsville HS) … scored nine points and had seven rebounds, two steals, and one blocked shot Saturday in an 80-75 home win over Anderson University. Last Monday, Printup scored 11 points and added seven rebounds, four steals, and one blocked shot in an 82-77 loss at Lees-McRae College. The Pioneers (3-3, 1-0 South Atlantic Conference) visit Coker College on Saturday.

LONDAISHA SMITH — Salem University (Jr., Cass HS) … saw action but did not record a stat line in a 94-88 loss Saturday at Glenville State. The Lady Tigers (1-7) travel to West Virginia Wesleyan on Wednesday and host Davis & Elkins College on Saturday.

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