Max Ihry has turnover feeling for Waubonsie Valley

The Ihry Infiltrate? The Max Make-A-Difference? How about the Max Thwack, the Ihry Wallop or the Max Momentum-shifter?

OK, so none of them has as good of a ring to it as Bears cornerback Charles Tillman’s “Peanut Punch,” but it was a similar play by Waubonsie Valley junior linebacker Max Ihry that set the tone in last Saturday’s 20-6 victory over Naperville Central.

Ihry jarred the ball away from Redhawks running back Kevin Clifford on first-and-goal at the Waubonsie 1-yard line on the first play of Saturday’s continuation of a suspended game.

Chris Fenley recovered the loose football and the Warriors then marched down the field to score a touchdown. They would never trail.

Ihry added an interception late in the fourth quarter in the end zone on the north side of the field as he seemingly was magnetized to the football.

“He’s just one of those guys who has a nose for the football,” Waubonsie Valley coach Paul Murphy said. “He makes plays as you saw on Saturday night. He just has a knack for always being around the football.”

Last season, Ihry was on the sophomore team during Week 1, but was promoted to varsity shortly thereafter and made his first start in Week 3 against Streamwood.

“I never realized how fast the game would be until I compared it to the sophomore level. That was a big change,” he said. “I got a lot of help from Hugh Griffin (Upstate Eight Valley Defensive MVP in 2013). He told me what to expect and how to prepare myself. He was a very good mentor.”

One thing Griffin reiterated many times was that you must learn from your mistakes.

“I made a lot of mistakes when I first came up, but he told me not to get down on myself and keep learning,” Ihry said. “Making reads was one of my biggest issues and I think I’ve improved a lot on making reads and knowing where I need to go.”

Over the years, Ihry has gained a better understanding of the game’s strategies.

“I’ve been playing football since I was really young but you constantly have to keep learning and working because it’s more than just a physical game,” he said. “I’ve stayed dedicated to offseason training, whether lifting, running, or just keeping my grades up so I can handle my responsibilities on the field.”

Wrestling has also transformed Ihry into the football player he is today.

“Wrestling is one of the toughest mental sports. It’s so intense, so it’s definitely helped me,” he said. “It’s insane. You’ve got cardio and you use every muscle while going one-on-one against someone else who is trying just as hard as you to win. You have to push yourself in every single match so I think it’s helped me to push myself on every single play.”

And that’s the Ihry Introspection.

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