J-M’s brawling wrestler gets redemption

NORTH JACKSON – Jackson-Milton coach Dave Tomaino seemed to have a good time describing the attributes of his heavyweight, Corley Lamb.

“Corley’s strong,” Tomaino said. “We call it hillbilly strong.”

Whatever strong it is, it works.

Lamb won what was arguably the toughest weight class at the Johnny’s Excavating Jackson-Milton Invitational wrestling tournament on Saturday when he pinned longtime nemesis Charlie Smith of United in the 285-pound final. Lamb, who lost to Smith several times last year, was trailing 2-0 in the second period when he locked his hands behind Smith’s back in a bear-hug-like position and slammed him to the mat. It only took a few seconds for the senior to secure a pin once that happened.

“He did that same move on one of our coaches at practice this week and knocked the wind out of him,” Tomaino said with a laugh. “Now the coaches are kind of backing off from wrestling him so much.

“He’s really unorthodox, but he’s physical. It almost looks like a bar fight when he wrestles. He goes out and his body flies everywhere and he’s out of control. He goes until he can’t move anymore, but then he’ll get up and do something else. It’s pretty crazy.”

Lamb admitted he entered the match with a negative mindset because he kept thinking about all the times he lost to Smith. That same thought, however, is what started to motivate him during the match.

“That’s what made me sort of spring up and get another gear in there,” he said. “I was originally going for a shot, but I’m really terrible at shooting, so I said screw it and went back up and I hit the bear hug.”

It also marked the first title of Lamb’s career. He said the victory felt good in some ways and bad in others.

“Honestly, when I slammed him on the ground, he kind of elbowed me in the eye, and I thought, ‘Man, I don’t want to win anymore. If this is what happens when you win, I don’t want to win anymore,’ ” Lamb joked. “But yeah, it felt good. It was a big accomplishment. He kicked my (butt) last year.”

He got some payback Saturday.