Wrestling helps QB succeed

BOARDMAN — Michael O’Horo sees the wrestling room just to the left of him as he enters the football weight room, located in a building on the west side of Boardman’s stadium.

The Boardman junior cornerback knows wrestling, in which he competes in both traditional and freestyle facets, and has picked up some valuable moves that have served him well on the gridiron.

The hand fighting he uses in wrestling is similar to a corner jamming a receiver and is useful in both sports. On offense, especially when O’Horo plays quarterback, he remembers those lessons he learned on the mats.

“You’re a lot more quick because of wrestling,” O’Horo said. “When a guy is on you, you can make a quicker move and get out of his arm length. The guys on you can break his grip. One-on-one situations you can get out of it just because of that.”

Yes, there’s that occasional stiff-arm you can draw back on from wrestling.

“Maybe not muscles,” O’Horo said. “You maybe can’t see it, but you can feel it when you’re one-on-one with somebody.”

Then there’s those final few years where that mental toughness takes over — similar to when he’s on the wrestling mat trying to expend the last of his energy as time winds down.

A similar situation would be in the final minute of a game, or trying to get that final yard on offense for a first down or touchdown.

Because of wrestling, O’Horo is thinking two steps ahead.

“You physically win over someone else because of that,” O’Horo said. “You make a huge hit on defense. You make a play that takes a lot out of you. Some people might not do it because they’re not mentally tough enough.

“You notice wrestling helping you with that.”

Sometimes those moves like a fireman’s carry come out in the course of a football game.

“You’ll hit a double leg on defense,” O’Horo said. “Someone is on you and you’ll hit a hip out. It comes naturally and happens because of wrestling.”

Wrestling is a sport Boardman coach Joe Ignazio respects and knows it has been a tremendous asset to his quarterback.

“I think it’s the toughest sport around,” Ignazio said. “It keeps you in the best shape of your life. Can’t say enough good things about it.”