Blue Devils sending 11 to state meet

By Dennis Bergin
Posted 2/28/18

JACKSONVILLE – Nothing can be said to be certain except death, taxes and Clay high school wrestling peaking in late February.

The Blue Devils captured six regional championships, three second …

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Blue Devils sending 11 to state meet

Posted

JACKSONVILLE – Nothing can be said to be certain except death, taxes and Clay high school wrestling peaking in late February.

The Blue Devils captured six regional championships, three second places and two fourth places in the Region 1A-1 and steamrolled to its 17 team championship at Bolles on Saturday.

“We had a good tournament,” said veteran Clay head coach Jim Reape. “I though our scouting and film work led to to great game plans. The kids did a good job executing the plan.”

Clay fished with 215 team points while Wakulla finished a distant second with 169 team points while Bishop Kenny finished 3rd with 168.5 points.

Daniel Porter at 113 pounds (42-3), Stevie Chopek at 120 pounds (46-2), Peyton Hughes at 138 pounds (37-2), Connor Green at 160 pounds (30-4), Abbott Taylor at 182 pounds (34-6) and Kurt Jackson at 195 pounds (28-4) captured titles for the Blue Devils. Dylan Taylor, Cale Hoskinson and Carson Yost finished second while Gabe Peddycord and Ryan Rivers finished in fourth place.

All 11 wrestlers will compete in the FHSAA State Championships held on March 2nd and 3rd at the Silver Springs Arena in Kissimmee. In one of the more interesting finals Porter scored a takedown with four seconds left in the match to gain a 5-3 victory over Dyer Brooks of Florida High (40-9) punch his ticket to Kissimmee.

“I didn’t know much about him,” said Porter, who finished third in last years region. “I took him lightly. I can’t let that happen anymore. I won’t let that happen again.”

285 pounder Ryan Rivers (34-16) lost his opening match to Javon Solomon by injury default but rebounded to win three matches before losing 2-1 to McKenzie Lewis (41-6) of Yulee to finish in fourth place.

“He fought hard and put himself in a position to go to states.” said Reape.

Yost, who didn’t start wrestling until he was in 8th grade, had an impressive tournament for Clay. The senior recorded three pins and an overtime victory before falling to Bradford’s Jesse Burch in the 170 pound final.

“He is a grinder,” Reape said. He has a tremendous will and is disciplined. He really committed to his diet and workouts and now he is going to state.”

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