Greg Isley rarely took a play off during Southview s undefeated run to the Division II state football championship.
He epitomized what it means to be an every-down player.
A severely sprained wrist suffered during the Cougars second playoff game did not stop him from suiting up for the next three.
While the injury may have sidelined many others, the Cougars hard-hitting linebacker never let on how much he was hurting.
Not until the Cougars finished off a 15-0 season by defeating defending state champion Cincinnati Anderson, 29-25 in the Division II state final.
With the wrist requiring time to heal, Isley was not able to go right into the wrestling season.
The defending Division I state runner-up at 189 pounds took in the first month of the wrestling season as a spectator. He finally got back into action two weeks ago.
It looked as if Isley hadn t missed a beat, pinning his opponent in the first period.
It was hard to wrestle with it [the injury], but it s as close to 100 percent as it is going to get, Isley said.
His recent return includes an impressive showing at thePerrysburg Invitational Tournament last weekend. He left as a PIT champion after pinning Tyler Trautwein of Fremont Ross in 2:49 of the title match.
To reach the final, he pinned Wauseon s Trent Seiler in 1:33 and stopped Tinora s Robert Blake 4-0.
Isley s strong showing raised his record to 7-0.
In terms of conditioning, Greg is ready, although the injury set him back a little bit, Southview coach Jim Comstock said. But judging from this weekend, he s right about where he needs to be.
Isley s ultimate concern this season has ultimately been about finishing the season strong as opposed to producing a fast start. The goal for his senior season has been clear for almost a year dating back to when he lost to Findlay s Matt Alexander 3-2 in the D-I state final.
I was pretty frustrated after last year s [championship] match, Isley said. I think about it every day. It s always on my mind.
After that loss, Isley pinned up the 2008 state tournament wrestling bracket for his weight class on his ceiling. It has allowed for him to stare at the results every night before falling asleep. It has served as a constant reminder of the biggest disappointment of his high school athletic career.
I don t know anybody who worked that hard and they re OK with second place, Isley said. Nobody is going to tell you they re OK with second place. It was very disappointing.
Isley spent much of last summer training for wrestling before football two-a-days commenced. He spent several weeks attending wrestling camps and tournaments and the idea of winning a state wrestling title remained his motivation throughout the summer.
But before Isley could begin his quest to win a state wrestling title, he played a key role in leading the football team to its first state championship.As a linebacker, he was the D-I district defensive player of the year and was named All-Ohio first team.
Yet, all the accolades for football did not diminish his drive to capture a state championship in wrestling.
I love football [but] practices are a drag because they are long and meticulous, Isley said. I think I love football because I ve been playing football with my friends for a long time. Wrestling, I m just passionate about.
So passionate that even though he couldn t compete in early-season matches, he practiced the entire time with a cast on his wrist. Comstock was not surprised.
He s by far the most competitive kid I ve ever seen, Comstock said. He s out there to be the best and he ll do whatever it takes to get there. He s the last one to leave practice every day.
Isley, who was 36-6 last season, believes his experience during the football season has helped him develop his approach toward the wrestling season.
The [football championship] celebration was great, but if we can do it in football why can t I do that in wrestling, he said. I m a perfectionist. We were perfect in football then why can t I be perfect in wrestling.