Crystal River junior heavyweight Ryan Stephens scored the biggest victory of his career Wednesday, topping Hernando star Windham Rotunda.
"This is big for Ryan," Pirates coach Bill Tovine said.
Stephens, 18-4, was one victory shy of reaching state last season but now is one of the region's top competitors. Rotunda had beaten him seven times during the past two seasons.
In a recent meeting, Rotunda fell behind 4-0 in the first period but held Stephens scoreless the rest of the way and won 6-4. Stephens won this time in overtime, 5-4.
"He had been working to beat (Rotunda)," Tovine said. "He had been adjusting the way he works his moves."
The coach said he likes Stephens' state qualifying chances.
"He's training hard, and he's very coachable," Tovine said. "In a nutshell, if he trains right, he can win the big matches."
_ KEITH NIEBUHR
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