There was a time when it was common for high school athletes to excel in more than one sport. Jack Roesch still subscribes to that throwback mentality.
Football, wrestling and baseball are all on Roesch’s plate at Avon High School.
“Try to mix it up, try to stay busy all the time,” said Roesch, who will be in the middle of the action tonight when the Eagles take on Toledo Central Catholic in a Division II regional final at Clyde High School.
“A lot of times, people will accuse football coaches of wanting their kids not to do that,” Avon coach Mike Elder said of playing multiple sports.
“We at Avon don’t have very many kids that aren’t at least two-sport (players) or more. Jack’s a three-sport athlete. Those are more rare but most of the kids in our program play at least two sports and the ones who don’t probably don’t because the other sports are cut sports and they couldn’t make the team.
“Jack’s a three-sport athlete who happens to excel in all three.”
In wrestling, Roesch made it to state last year at 220 pounds and was the Southwestern Conference champion. He plans to move up to heavyweight this year.
“I went pretty far last year,” Roesch said. “Qualified (for state) but two-and-out wasn’t what I wanted. It was nice to get that experience. I think moving up a weight class, it’s going to help with all those seniors leaving. Leaves room for me to get back down there.”
On the baseball team, Roesch played first and third and pitched. He earned All-Ohio and first-team Lorain County and SWC honors, batting a robust .452 with two homers, 22 RBIs and six stolen bases, He also had a 1.61 ERA in eight innings. He prefers playing the hot corner and batting in the middle of the order.
“He led the county in hitting,” Elder said. “He was All-Ohio in baseball. He made it to the state tournament in wrestling and he should be an All-Ohio football player. The kid has about 13 to 14 Division I football offers.”
“Everything I’ve learned in the other sports — every little technique, every little mental attribute that I gain — just helps me throughout the season in every other sport,” he said. “They all have their own unique, different features and that’s what makes them great.”
So what’s his favorite sport?.
“I get that question a lot,” Roesch said. “I love whatever sport I’m in that season. I can’t really choose a favorite.”
At 6-foot-3 and 235 pounds, Roesch has the ideal size for a defensive end. He’ll also play some guard on the offensive line depending on the situation. He’s already committed to the Air Force Academy to play football.
“I had gotten some offers,” said Toesch, who has a 3.8 GPA. “Stuff started rolling in and then a few of the Air Force coaches contacted me and they gave me a great opportunity. They offered me to play football and serve my country at the same time.”
Roesch found the Air Force hard to turn down, especially after visiting the campus in Colorado Springs earlier this year.
“I went out in April, met all the coaches,” Roesch said. “Got to see the new facilities, got to see everything. It was great. It was a wonder. I’d never seen anything outside of Ohio. Definitely a great change of scenery and a different lifestyle.”
“Jack’s a special kid on and off the field,” Elder said. “As a football player, he’s tough as nails — maybe the toughest kid we’ve ever had. He’s a physical specimen. He’s a wrestler. He’s got a motor that doesn’t stop. He’s a kid you don’t get every year.”
In Avon’s 3-4 scheme, Roesch leads the team in pressuring the quarterback with 21 hurries and seven sacks. He’s had nine first hits and nine solo tackles. He’s been credited with 48 total tackles, 10 for losses.
“Defensive side of the ball, myself and the rest of the guys up front are responsible for getting pressure on the quarterback and make our linebackers make plays,” Roesch said. “I guess my job would be to hold guys up and make sure our backers are free to roam. They’re the big playmakers on the field. I’m just there to help.”
Elder said Roesch is just being modest.
“You want 100 Jack Roesches on your team,” Elder said. “He’s a role model in our football program. For our sophomores and our juniors — they look up to him. This kid goes down and visits our elementary schools. He’s a rock star. You get him in front of a group of young kids, he’s dynamic as a speaker. He’s very mature for his age and we haven’t had a lot of kids quite like him.”
Roesch loves the camaraderie on the defensive line.
“We’re very close upfront,” he said of senior nose tackle Zach Rimko and junior Chris Pepe, who patrols the other end. “As a defense, we play as a totally different unit. We play for each other and we’re all pretty set that our job is to do our 1/11. I think we do that pretty well and it makes us a strong defense.”
That’s been the theme of Mike Elder-coached teams: Do your job.
“Coach Elder harps on that,” Roesch said. “Keep on doing your 1/11 and be the best version of yourself all the time, every play. If everybody takes care of their job, everything comes together really well.
“We’ve got nothing to lose (tonight) but we’ve got a lot prove. If we pull together as a team and get that morale that we can do it, I think it’ll be a great outcome for us.”
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