Transitioning from football player to wrestler to baseball left fielder is anything but a seamless endeavor.
Austin Wethington simply makes it appear that way.
The Indian Creek senior is a throwback in the most complimentary and old-school manner, a three-sport athlete who on late-summer and autumn Friday evenings takes enormous pride in being needed on both sides of the line of scrimmage.
“I love playing both offense and defense. It doesn’t matter as long as I’m playing football,” said the 6-1, 200-pound Wethington, who counts H-back and linebacker as his own personal double-duty. “I don’t even like coming off the field, but everyone needs a break every once in a while.”
As the Class 3A Braves (1-1) prepare for tonight’s home game against unbeaten Class A No. 8 Eastern Hancock, Wethington ranks third on the team in tackles with 13 and leads the way in quarterback sacks with two.
He’s also intercepted a pass and forced a fumble.
His wrestling instincts surely help. After all, Wethington as a junior last winter placed third in the 182-pound weight class for Indian Creek at the Mooresville Sectional. He went on to finish sixth at the regional the following week for a final record of 27-10.
As a junior he took fourth in the sectional at 160 pounds.
But it’s football that especially gets Wethington’s adrenalin going. Offense. Defense. Special teams. Pregame coin-flip. Doesn’t matter.
In Indian Creek’s season-opening 47-0 blowout of Knightstown, he produced five solo tackles. Wethington followed that performance with seven solos, a pick, two sacks and a pair of receptions for 22 yards in last week’s 33-28 loss to Greenwood.
Rest assured, Wethington works for every bit of statistical data he collects.
“Austin is one of those football players everybody loves because he does the dirty work and never complains. He’s one of those 9-to-5 guys who leads by example and is easy to coach,” Braves coach Mike Gillin said. “If I had about 15 of him I would have a pretty doggone good football team.”
That’s a lot of young men wearing jersey No. 42 when really there’s only one Austin Wethington.