GRANVILLE — Joey Comisford accomplished a lot during his high school career as a three-sport athlete, but being named as one of the captains of the Granville football team gave him the confidence he needed to have a memorable year.
“Being a captain was great,” Comisford said. “Of all my athletic accomplishments, that’s probably the most treasured because it was a great honor to get to represent such a great group of guys.
“Having a great senior year in football made me more confident in the other sports that I played. It made a huge difference.”
Comisford had an outstanding year in football, earning All-Ohio honors, was a member of the basketball team and helped set several records during a track season that ended on the state podium.
Comisford is The Advocate’s 2012 Male Athlete of the Year.
“You can’t have great individual success without a great support system, and I couldn’t have asked for a better family, teammates and coaches over the last four years,” Comisford said. “My brothers, Ross and Scott, set great examples for me and helped me out along the way, and my mom was my biggest fan. I’ve had some great people around me over the last four years.”
Comisford was an Academic All-Ohio honoree in football and track with a 3.75 grade-point average.
Comisford took key role in football
“Being a senior and a captain, you were looked up to, and you had to perform and set an example on and off the field,” Comisford said. “I became much more of a leader and really worked hard in the offseason, and it carried over onto the field.”
Comisford, a 5-foot-11 receiver, caught 45 passes for 750 yards and 12 touchdowns, and he returned a punt 50 yards for a touchdown. He earned first-team Mid-State League-Ohio Division and Central District honors, and he was named to the Division III All-Ohio second team.
Comisford was the go-to player for the Blue Aces, and twice had three-touchdown games, including six receptions for 106 yards against Whitehall. He caught a 70-yard touchdown pass on the first play of the game against Heath, finishing with six catches for 148 yards — all in the first half.
The Blue Aces had narrow home wins against Licking Valley and Newark Catholic to finish undefeated in MSL-Ohio play and win the program’s second title in three seasons.
“Joey’s teammates had a lot of respect for him because of his work ethic,” Granville football coach J.R. Wait said. “He set the tone with his workouts. He was a coachable kid, and he had a great understanding of what we were trying to get accomplished. He just made people around him better.
“The biggest thing about Joey was that he was mature on and off the field. He was our vocal leader, and he made people around him better.”
Everything came together in track
Comisford, who played baseball his freshman and sophomore years, was slowed by track during his first year of track in 2011. His success in football enabled him to gain confidence.
Add in a lot of hard work, and it added up to a record-breaking year.
“After having a great football season, things just seemed to skyrocket for me in track,” Comisford said. “My expectations were high in track, but it helped having a coach like (assistant coach Dave Agosta), who is working with you every day.
“He is very knowledgeable, and he helped me a lot. I’m running track in college, and without his help, I probably would not have had that chance.”
Agosta added Comisford put in extra work, including in the winter during basketball season.
“First of all, Joey is an outstanding athlete, and he would be good at whatever sport he chose,” Agosta said. “He had a lot of nagging injuries as a junior, but it didn’t deter him. It made him work harder. He really never took days off. He would come out and run after basketball practice.”
Comisford was a part of four school records this season. He helped the 1,600 relay to a fourth-place finish in the Division I state meet, resetting its school record at 3:17.73.
Comisford broke the school record in the 400 in May, winning the MSL-Ohio title in a time of 49.50. He broke the 800 record in the regional meet, finishing fifth in 1:54.06. That came two days after he led off the 3,200 relay, which placed fifth despite running a school-record 7:50.65, one of the best times in Ohio this season.
Comisford, who also competed in June in the Midwest Meet of Champions, recently signed a letter of intent with Miami University.
“He is just a natural, and he listens to everything the coaches are telling him, which is one of the big reasons he is so successful,” Agosta said. “He was such a great leader who always wanted what was best for the team. His teammates noticed those things.”
Playing three sports wasn’t easy for Comisford, who played for three different head coaches in basketball, but he managed. He was part of at least one league championship team in all three sports.
“With two older brothers that played sports, I tried to follow after them,” Comisford said. “I didn’t want to specialize in just one sport. I like all of them. I actually think that playing more than one sport helped me. I think it helps you develop as an athlete and be more well-rounded.”