BRANDON — This is the time of year when Brandon wrestlers begin their postseason runs, and things turn serious.
That was clearly evident Saturday at the Class 3A, District 6 tournament, as the host Eagles won individual titles in all 14 weight classes for the second straight season and third time overall. Brandon also swept districts in 2004.
"I'm sure the guys wanted it," Brandon coach Russ Cozart said. "We had some boys that went out and wrestled really hard. You could see it. We were at home, it was a district championship."
Brandon scored 323.5 points, more than tripling runnerup Bloomingdale's 107. The next three teams — Wharton (99), Riverview (98.5) and Newsome (96) — were separated by a mere three points.
Half of Brandon's finals wins came by pin — by Victor Fugate (119 pounds), Rossi Bruno (130), Tyler Liberatore (135), Brice Jones (140), Clark Glass (152), Kyle Koziel (171) and Mike Ettore (189).
James Flint (112), a 4-1 winner over Wharton's Isiah Devault, and Travis Berridge (145), who defeated Riverview's Tobin Williams 3-0, had the closest matches for Brandon until teammate Lorenzo Martinez stepped on the mat.
Martinez, a senior wrestling at 215, actually trailed Wharton's Conrad Jones 1-0 after two periods. Two escapes in the final frame gave Martinez a 2-1 victory in the most thrilling match of the tournament.
"It's my last year, so I have to do my best," said Martinez, who is aiming for his first state berth. "My energy came from working so hard for the past year."
Afterward, Cozart lauded Jones, who he recalled taking Martinez to overtime earlier this season. "That kid's a tough kid," Cozart said.
As are the Eagles, the coach added.
"Each kid has high goals," Cozart said. "They're looking to put themselves into good position for the region and the state (tournaments)."