CLARKSBURG - John Merica might be the coolest name for a football player in the state.
“I always hear it, all the time," said Merica. "Everyone is like, ‘wow, your last name is amazing.’”
Regardless, Merica certainly knows how to keep cool during the biggest moments of a playoff game.
"John is an intense competitor, and those types of kids take the leadership role, take the tougher assignments and do their best," said first year head coach John Cole. "He’s done that.”
Merica made several game changing plays in Bridgeport’s 42-13 quarterfinal win over Winfield.
The senior is able to make such a big impact because of the way he prepares for games.
“I watch a lot of film, really try to study the players I’m going against," said Merica. "I try to key off their mistakes, and when I do, I normally can hit it pretty well.”
That’s what sets him apart, said Cole. Merica is the perfect fit to quarterback Bridgeport’s potent power pistol.
“It’s been a huge advantage for our offense," said Cole. "We’ve scored a lot of points this year. It starts with the offensive line, but having talent back there, especially with John, makes everyone’s job on the offense a lot easier.”
Merica burst onto the scene late last year. He scored a touchdown in the state semis last season, but the Indians lost to Fairmont Senior, falling short of the Super Six.
This year, he and the Indians get another shot at the state finals, but they have to go through unbeaten Bluefield to get there.
“We may have to call on John Friday night to do some different things and to read things," said Cole, "because we’re going up against a pretty good defense.”
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