Niagara Gazette — Success in football and wrestling involves very similar qualities. Balance, strength and toughness will allow top athletes in both sports to find success.
At Lewiston-Porter, Jon Hoover, head coach for both the football and wrestling teams, is putting that relationship to the test. Hoover estimates that between half and three-quarters of this winter’s wrestling team is involved in his football program.
“It helps us in both sports,” said Hoover, in his 12th year at the top of the wrestling program. “Wrestling and football, they go together, especially for linemen and linebackers. It’s all about one-on-one battles — having that ability to have that balance and strength to move guys — and that’s all wrestling.
“Wrestling builds your mental toughness. It’s all you out there, you’ve got to go out on the mat and make it happen, and that builds mental toughness. When you’re out on the football field and it’s fourth-and-one and you need to move some guys to pick up that yard, that’s where that toughness comes in.”
Hoover said almost all of his linemen and linebackers are also wrestlers. Even some of his “skill” players hit the mat, including senior cornerback/wide receiver Dan Reagan, who placed fourth in states last year in the 138-pound weight class.
Reagan is only one of Hoover’s Lancers that had success last season and is returning this year. Ryan Korner is the defending Section VI champion in the 132-pound class, and fellow junior D.J. Marshall finished third in the section at 126 pounds. Sophomore Garrett Rath placed fifth in the section at 285, and sophomore transfer Andrew Schomers placed second in the large school tournament at 113 last season with Niagara Falls.
“He’s come in and fit right in,” Hoover said. “He works well with the guys and should have a big year for us.”