Cohen’s contributions to South sports held in high regard

Ben Wittenstein, Staff Reporter

For senior Max Cohen, he feels that playing three varsity sports is routine. In the fall, Cohen led the Titans as the starting quarterback on the football field;  in the winter, he comes off the bench as a role player on South’s basketball team. And when spring comes along, Cohen mans the outfield on South’s baseball team.

As rare as a three sport athlete can be, Cohen feels that it is natural, and couldn’t see giving up any of the sports he plays.

“I didn’t think much of [playing three sports], and I didn’t think it was a huge accomplishment because I was just continuing to play the sports that I love,” Cohen said.

As well as during the school year, each summer Cohen plays all three sports. During a typical summer day, Cohen goes to football camp in the morning, which is then followed by basketball camp during the day and then a baseball tournament or basketball game in the evening.

Spending most of the school year competing in athletics does come with a price, however.  According to Cohen, injuries and general exhaustion are definitely not foreign to him.

“Every single year of high school I sprain my left thumb,” Cohen said. “There are days when I’m just exhausted from not having a break at all in between seasons, but I’ve gotten used to it over the past four years.”

This school year began with students and parents watching Cohen play starting quarterback for South on Friday nights. After going 5-4 on the season, he led the Titans to their ninth consecutive playoff appearance. As fall turned into winter it was time for Cohen to contribute to the basketball team, coming off the bench as a guard. Cohen believes he’s learned something from each sport to help him become a better competitor.

“Football’s mental aspect helps me a lot with staying mentally focused,” Cohen said. “It also teaches me how to work hard and fight through the physical pain and accomplish your goal […] while basketball helps me get faster and be quick on my feet.”

Mike Noll, head football coach, understands how much playing three sports has built Cohen.

“He has a [really] good understanding of the big picture [and] what you’re trying to accomplish,” Noll said.

Being five feet eight inches tall, Cohen is one of the smallest quarterbacks Noll has coached. Despite the height, Noll believes that Cohen has one of the best arms of any player he has ever worked with at South, and he tried to shape his playbook around his ability rather than his height.

“His ability to throw on the run [is unique],” Noll said. “We didn’t use him [as] a rushing quarterback because of his size, but we used him because he could do it.”

On the basketball court, Cohen’s size can be considered a problem. However, like with the other two sports that he plays, Cohen is able to make it work to perfection with his keen ability to shoot, according to basketball coach Ben Widner. Widner sees that Cohen takes a lot of what he learns on the gridiron to the hardwood.

“Coming from being the quarterback on the football team, he’s not overwhelmed by any moment in a big game [because] he’s been there before,” Widner said.

When the spring starts up, Cohen won’t have any time to rest before he starts baseball workouts. Cohen, who played left field last year, was a flexible hitter. He batted anywhere from the two spot to the six or seven spot according to baseball coach Bob Rosinski.

Even as Cohen makes the transition from basketball, Rosinski knows that he will be ready to be a leader once he steps on the baseball diamond. According to Rosinski, being a three sport athlete has taught Cohen to be more mature.

“[He] is able to accept criticism more […] and deal with it in a better way,” Rosinski said.

By the time baseball season begins, Cohen will have finished up his last seasons of football and basketball in high school. However, that does not mean Cohen will be hanging up his cleats for the last time.

“I’m looking at playing football or baseball [in college] but I haven’t decided yet,” Cohen said. “I’ve also not decided on a school yet, but I’ve been talking to Division III coaches, but I need to visit the schools first to really get the feel of the school and the team.”

While Rosinski just coaches Cohen in baseball, he feels that he can speak to Cohen’s work ethic for all the coaches that work with Cohen.

“When he’s in [football, basketball and baseball] he’s so committed to being in those sports, his mind is nowhere else, and he just loves to be there and loves to work,” Rosinski said.