By allowing ads to appear on this site, you support the local businesses who, in turn, support great journalism.
Mat Rats place in top two as a team
The Liberty County Mat Rats placed first and second in their first tournament, earning points as a team at the Creekview Grizzly Takedown in Calhoun on Nov. 15. Pictured are volunteer coach Travis Wells (far left), head coach Philip Howe (far right) Mason Wells, Jonathan Moyett, Tyler Fisher, Andrew Houghton and Trey Neal. - photo by Phgoto by Patty Leon
It’s only their second season, but the young wrestlers who make up the Liberty County Mat Rats have plenty to brag about as the wrestlers competed for team points for the first time and placed first and second against 31 different teams at the Creekview Grizzly Takedown Tournament in Calhoun on Nov. 15.
The tournament was a folk style throw down meet.
“It was an outstanding performance,” Mat Rat coach Philip Howe said. “I couldn’t expect anything more. I mean going up against 30 different wrestling teams, some of those teams having 30 plus members on their team, I figured if we finished in the top 10 or top six we had an exceptional tournament, but to come in number one and number two was outstanding.”
Howe said last year’s stellar performers Mason Wells and Andrew Houghton shined at the meet, placing at the top of their respective weight classes.
Some of his newcomers did well too.
“Jonathan Moyett had a real strong performance. So did Trey Neil and Tyler Fisher,” he said.
The Mat Rats competed in several meets last year, but this was the first time they wrestled to start accumulating team points.
“When we are in a tournament as a team they still wrestle individually for whatever weight class they are in,” Howe explained.
“A beautiful thing about wrestling is it’s a team sport because you acquire points together but it’s the individual efforts and individual merits that add up to bring the team along.”  
“It was a great experience for the team,” volunteer assistant coach Travis Wells said. “I’m amazed they did so much better than I expected.”
Howe said he is pleased with the wrestling team he is developing with the support of the LCRD and the community, but hopes more youngsters interested in the sport will join the squad.
“We are still looking for kids to sign up and participate in the program,” he said. “I expected the enrollment to be a little bit higher than it has been so I’m a little disappointed in that but the ones we do have are dedicated and doing well.”
The Mat Rats look to compete at a meet in Lowndes County and then set their sights on Atlanta.
“We are talking about going to the Dixie Nationals in the end of December,” Howe said. “It’s a three-day affair in Atlanta.
But the ultimate goal is to win team championships and host an event sometime next year in Liberty County. To climb that mountain the Mat Rats still need to raise funds for a second mat.
“The funds we have right now will carry us to tournaments through February so we need fundraisers,” Howe said. “We have around $300 in the kitty for the second mat but we need $4,000.”
As for hosting an event next year, Howe said it would be a boost to the economy. He said 180-200 wrestlers attend tournaments and with them are their fans and family.
“The LCRD is behind us and they are ready for us to take facility and give them a date,” he said. “People would come in the day before the tournament, eat at our restaurants, buy gas and visit local stores.”
For more information on the LCRD Mat Rats visit:
Category K-2
First place: CAA- LCRD Mat Rats, 21 team points
Tyler Fisher, Mason Wells, Jonathan Moyett and Trey Neal placed in different matches within the top four to the top 14. Andrew Houghton swept his weight class, taking all his matches.

Category 6-8
First place: The Wrestling Center, 110 team points
Second Place: CAA-LCRD Mat Rats, 66 team points
Mason Wells, Tyler Fisher, Jonathan Moyett and Trey Neal all placed within the top six in matches
Third Place: Grizzly Wrestling Team, 52 team points

Sign up for our e-newsletters