With college decision made, Billy McChesney expects big season for Greensburg Salem

Monday, August 16, 2021 | 4:13 PM

Billy McChesney had his choice of sports to play in college, either football or wrestling.

The Greensburg Salem senior decided to wrestle for Columbia University.

It wasn’t an easy choice. He had offers for both sports. But McChesney said he picked the Ivy League school because it’s the best opportunity for him on the academic and athletic side.

“I’m looking forward to competing there,” he said. “It’s a great place and great school.”

The 6-foot-2, 265-pound four-year starter on the offensive and defensive lines is happy with his decision. With that out of the way, he’s looking forward to leading the Golden Lions football team to the best season of his career.

“I expect us to have a great year,” McChesney said, “a lot better than last year. The personnel on the field is a lot better. Everyone on the field is a fantastic athlete and fantastic player, and they really believe in what the coaches are saying and really believe in the team we’re trying to build here.”

Greensburg Salem went 1-6 in 2020, and that victory let the program hit the 700-win milestone. But after that win, the team struggled with injuries and had too many young players learning the game.

McChesney said that’s going to change this season.

The Golden Lions graduated three starters from the 2020 season: running back Alex Briggs, left tackle Joey McGough and kicker Wyatt Ramer.

McChesney is moving out to the left tackle position from left guard to protect the blind side of quarterback Hayden Teska. He is one of four returning linemen. The others include his younger brother Christian at center, Caleb Chismar at right guard and Kaleb Riggs at right tackle.

“The 700th win was amazing for us. It was a great thing,” Billy McChesney said. “But we didn’t build off that. After that game, we all fell flat.

“This year we have to keep going, keep building and keep getting better. Every day has to be better than the last day.”

Greensburg Salem coach Dave Keefer is excited with what he is seeing in how the team plays and how McChesney adjusts to a new position.

“We’re still looking at different scenarios,” Keefer said. “We want the linemen to be able to play different positions. We expect Billy to do well at left tackle.”

And McChesney said he expects big things from his quarterback.

“Hayden is the best quarterback I’ve seen,” McChesney said. “He’s an amazing, phenomenal athlete. But we have a lot of amazing athletes.”

On defense, he plays nose guard because the coaches feel that’s where he can do the most damage.

“Billy can dominate a game at nose tackle,” Keefer said. “Some of our opponents game plan to stop him. He’s a leader and a super person. He’s been a joy to coach for four seasons. He’s a great wrestler and a football player.”

McChesney said he feels that wrestling and football complement each other, especially the hand fighting in both sports.

“Both sports make you better,” he said. “That’s why I love them both.”

Paul Schofield is a Tribune-Review Staff Writer. You can contact Paul by email at pschofield@triblive.com or via Twitter .


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