The Allen high school wrestling team is practicing without their best wrestler. Oliver Pierce is taking it easy, playing for the seventh-ranked football team in Texas.
"Wrestling is a little harder mentally than football is," said Pierce. "Sometimes it's more than one practice a day, and it's just you out there, so I think that's a little bit harder than football."
Pierce began the year as Allen's starting quarterback, but he's not a QB in the traditional sense. Not many quarterbacks return kicks or play defensive end on passing downs.
"Most don't return punts and kicks or play defensive end or do anything else we want them to do," said Allen head coach Tom Westerberg. "But he's a special athlete and we use him however we can."
"Whether it was quarterback or it was receiver or playing running back or whatever it is - returning kicks, special teams - I was going to do it," said Pierce. "And I was going to do it the best that I could."
Over the summer, Pierce participated in off-season workouts for both football and wrestling, and even now he goes to wrestling practice once a week. He says that next year when he goes to Oklahoma, it will be a relief to worry about only one sport.
"Sometimes me and my dad joke around that college is going to be easier, because I'm going to be doing only one sport," Pierce said.
"He's a believer just like we are: if you have to talk about it, you're just not good," said Jerry West, the wrestling coach. "You show it on the mat or on the field. If you're always talking about it, then you have something you gotta' prove."
And right now, the proof is in the playing time.