Daffron has his sights aimed at the same target at the top of the wrestling empire this season after swapping job assignments with last year’s head coach Billy Broom.
Broom was assisted by Daffron as the Tigers won a state championship in the traditional state, and the state duels last season.
This year Broom will assist Daffron.
The head coaching position is a familiar one to Daffron, who wrestled for the Tigers and led the Trion Bulldogs to the Class A Georgia State championship in 1994.
“Our goals are the same this year as they were last year,” Daffron said. “We’re still going to wrestle hard, be aggressive, and be in better shape than anybody else.”
Daffron said his Tigers were determined to earn more respect after being named as the preseason No. 6 team in the Southeast by USA Wrestling Magazine.
“We had a very successful season last year,” Daffron said. “We’re going to have to work twice as hard to be dominant, but our guys are ready.”
Daffron said he will look for leadership from seniors Josh Flinn, Barrett Blankenship, Will O’Neal and Phillip Akers.
Flinn clinched his second state title last season at 145 pounds and Blankenship finished second at 152.
Will O’Neal placed third in the heavyweight.
“Our goal is to take as many people as we can to the region finals,” Flinn said. “Then the state will take care of itself. It’s no different from last year.”
Ringgold qualified 12 wrestlers in the 14 weight classes last year and will build from one of the strongest middle school and youth programs in the area.
Flinn said the key to the Tigers’ success would be taking “one step at a time.”
“It’s going to be a long season,” he said. “And we want it to be a fun one. Right now we’re just focusing on that first match.”
Fresh off of an outstanding season as a Ringgold linebacker, Blankenship said the Tigers would look for support from the newcomers.
“We’re going to have to be a family if we’re going to win,” the aggressive 1pounder said. “My family, ... the wrestling family, doesn’t like to lose.”
The Tigers will have to replace the twin state champion combo of Josh and Michael Keefe and state runner-up Jeremy Romesburg.
All three graduated in May.
Wrestlers who could contribute to the Tigers’ success this
year are juniors Andrew Crawford, Anthony Alemany, Matt Dooley, Jarred Fielden, Kevin LeCroy, J.J. McCartney, Barry McGee, Gregory Meek, Michael Varnell, Adam Walker, Josh Wann and Greg Willis. Sophomores Jeremy Davis, Thiago Leal, John Lee, Michael Nunez and Tyler Slaughter and freshmen Nathan Akers, bob baker, Cory Bates, Garrison Goins, Greg Hopkins, Alan Lee, Sean McDevitt, Tyler Mills, Kyle Queen, Norman Richard, Logan Ryan and Leslie Shropshire.
Ringgold opens its season on Tuesday, Nov. 26, with Gordon Central and Murray County at Gordon Central