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NFM’s Taylor wins regional title on mat

February 28, 2018
By CHUCK BALLARO ( , North Fort Myers Neighbor

The job was simple for Adolphus Taylor. Hang on for two minutes and become a regional champion.

And that's exactly what he did, not allowing Braden River's Brendan Bengtsson out of his grasp in the third period to gut out a 1-0 victory in the regional finals of the 285-pound weight class at the Region 2A-3 wrestling championships on Saturday at Charlotte High School in Punta Gorda.

And to think that wrestling isn't at the top of his athletic's "favorite's" list.

Article Photos

Caleb Massari, left, who placed third in the 106-pound weight class, and Adlophus Taylor, regional champ in the 285-pound class, at the Region 2A-3 wrestling championships on Saturday at Charlotte High School in Punta Gorda.


Taylor, a junior, will join Caleb Massari at next week's state tournament in Orlando. Massari placed third in the 106-pound class to highlight a successful freshman season for the Red Knights.

For Taylor it was a long grind, after winning his first match by pin, he narrowly defeated Cole Lewis of Cypress Lake 3-1 and Jamey Vasquez of Fort Myers 2-0 for the right to battle Bengtsson.

After a scoreless first period, Taylor chose bottom to start the second period and was able to earn an escape and a point.

Bengtsson chose bottom in the third period, hoping for an escape and maybe a reversal. Taylor's job was to keep him on the mat.

Bengtsson was able to get on his feet three times, but was thrown back down each time by Taylor, the last time in the closing seconds to clinch the match.

"He kept getting my eye and I kept getting dizzy. I had to feel it to get through," Taylor said, who got revenge after Bengtsson beat him in regionals last year. "It was a hard two minutes. I was tired the whole time, but he was, too. When he got up, I just threw him down."

Jesse Sestor, North wrestling coach, said there was something about the gym. Taylor won the Captain Archer championship at Charlotte High early in the season.

"We've been waiting a year for that rematch. He got us 6-5 last year and went on to place second in state," Sestor said of Taylor, who admitted he wrestles so he can stay in shape for football.

Massari started his road with a major decision before facing Lauren Stone of Venice, whom he defeated 10-8 before losing by pin to eventual champion Cullen Guerrero in the semifinals.

Massari had to beat Nestor Echevarria of Riverdale 7-3 to qualify for states, then defeated Stone again 4-2 in the third-place match.

"It was a good weekend. Stone gave me two close matches. Guerrero is really tough. He caught me with a bar and pinned me with that," Massari said. "I want to place in states and put up a banner at North."

As a team, the Red Knights finished 11th with 41 points. Riverdale was the team winner, with Charlotte second.

For North, this is the perfect end to one of the best seasons ever in wrestling. The team went to regionals and for the third straight year did not allow a forfeit, filling the practice room with football players who have bought in to Sestor's program.



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