David Ochs, a football, wrestling and baseball standout before graduating from Liberty High School in 1984 was recently inducted into the school’s Athletics Hall of Fame.
Ochs, who lives in Gainesville, Florida, led the Lions’ football team in tackles, interceptions, punt return and kick return totals as a senior captain and was a two-time Times first-team all-countian. He finished his high school wrestling career with a 23-7-1 as a senior and led the Lions to a 12-1-1 record and a 10th-place ranking in Maryland. He received first-team all-county honors in baseball at shortstop his junior and senior years as well. Ochs continued his football career at University of Delaware as a walk-on in 1986. He was granted a scholarship for the 1987 and 1988 seasons.
He has been working as a physical therapist for 24 years and coaches his two sons in baseball and football. The Times caught up with Ochs, whose alma mater is about to hit a milestone, to discuss his achievements in athletics and his thoughts on the changes Maryland high school sports:
Q: What was the most memorable experience for you as a high school athlete?
A: As a high school athlete at Liberty, some of my most memorable moments were beating South Carroll my senior year in football, returning a fumble over 90 yards for a touchdown while in front of our home crowd, hitting two home runs in the same game and standing on the podium at the Maryland state wrestling tournament.
Q: Liberty’s football program has had a lot of success in recent years. What does that mean to you knowing that you were once a part of the program as well?
A: Liberty’s football program means a lot to me because of pride. Liberty started football in 1980 and was immediately successful with winning seasons. We started a winning culture and laid down the foundation of what it meant to have Liberty team pride. I am very proud of that fact.
Q: You went on to play football at Delaware as a three-year starter. How did college athletics help shape your life beyond college?
A: College athletics had a lot to do with how my life was shaped. I was a college walk-on and had to work extremely hard to earn a scholarship. Thus, my work ethic had to be strong and consistent. My college career faced hard times when I had to sit out with a shoulder surgery and later with a hamstring injury. The rehab process made me have to work harder to get a starting position back and also sparked my interest in physical rehabilitation.
Q: How do you think high school sports in Maryland have changed over the years?
A: I believe the sports in high school have developed immensely with higher quality athletes, coaches, trainers and technology. Sports camps and yearly training have been strong factors on how advanced the Maryland athletes have become.
Q: Liberty High School turns 40 this year, and as a member of one of the school’s first few graduating classes, have you maintained any relationships from Liberty or held on to any ties to the school itself?
A: Over the years since graduating, I have always had an ear out for all news coming out of Liberty High. I live in Florida now, but old classmates and family who still live in the area always keep me abreast of any significant news.