(Town Crier photo/Trent Fletcher)
Timms and Adcock battled their way back after dropping the first set by winning the second, forcing a decisive third set. The Rebels faced match point at 2-5, but rallied by winning the next five games to capture the championship. After Timms held serve to pull the Rebels to within 3-5, the Riverside tandem broke the hard serving Parnell to turn the momentum in the match to their favor. Adcock then held serve to even the match at 5-5 before Riverside broke the Warriors' backs by breaking Emerich's serve to take a 6-5 lead. The match came down to Timms holding serve for the championship, which he did when Adcock smashed the match winner between the two EPC players, setting off a raucous celebration by the Riverside fans.
Timms' and Adcock's victory also enabled Riverside to claim the state runner-up team trophy behind Episcopal Collegiate of Little Rock. This marked Riverside's second state runner-up team finish, as well as the second time the Rebels have claimed a state championship in individual play. Adolpho Borges claimed the singles State championship in 1998 to lead the Rebels to the state runner-up spot that year.
"I couldn't believe we actually won," said Timms. "We beat a great team. All the hard work really paid off for us. This is just great. There is not many feelings greater than winning a state championship. All the long hours and practice finally paid off for us. Coach Conner (Terry) really pushed us hard and told us to never give up, and we didn't. He deserves a lot of credit."
"I am shocked," said Adcock. "At first I didn't think we could do it. They were undefeated and the number one seeded team, and we had lost to them twice during the season. I really thought they had our number. But when we broke Parnell in the third set to get back on serve, that really got us motivated and we knew then we could do it. This is pretty big. Something we will always remember. People will talk about this for along time--until it happens again."
"I am extremely happy," said Head Coach Terry Conner. "I knew they could do it and they knew they could do it. I am just extremely thrilled. I thought the turning point in the match was when we broke Parnell. I felt like EPC's players started to get nervous and we really put the pressure on them. Both Jordan and Tyler came up big and didn't back down. Tyler is one of the best I have ever had. He worked his tail off all summer and I feel like he is one of the best players in the area. I would put him up against anyone. What can you say about Jordan? What a great debut, this being his first year to play tennis. He has also worked so hard and has really improved as the year has gone on. I think he will have a great year next season. Tyler and Jordan worked real well together all year long and as they kept winning their confidence grew. This is a great day for Riverside."
"I have a lot of respect for Riverside," said EPC Coach Tommy Ford. "I thought we had them beat when we were up 5-2 in the third set. But they just made shot after shot when they had to and just took the match away from us. We had beaten them twice before, buy you just can't beat a great team every time. I am very proud of Justin and Steven for making it to the finals. They had a great year, losing only one match."
Timms and Adcock, as well as Parnell and Emerich, received All-State honors and will advance to Wednesday's Overall State Championship to be held at Little Rock's Rebsamen Tennis Center at University Park. Matches in the overall state tournament include teams from all four class divisions: AA, AAA, AAAA, and AAAAA.
Riverside also was represented at the State Tournament by the doubles team of M.J. Emery and Garrett Weaver. Emery and Weaver gave the fourth seeded team from Little Rock Lutheran, the defending state champions, all they could handle before dropping a 6-4, 6-2 decision.