POLSON — The Polson Pirates football team finished the regular season undefeated and Tia Mercer filled the central kicking role in her senior year.
“It was really fun,” said freshman kicker Tia Mercer. “It’s a totally different dynamic than anything I’ve ever experienced. It’s just a great sense of family and everything, and it’s a lot more intense.”
And the longtime footballer who has just started kicking this year has been welcomed with open arms by the football team.
“You know, you kind of treat her like she’s just another teammate coming on the team,” said fellow senior and teammate Tyler Wenderoth. “You don’t really see her as a girl as if she’s different. She’s just another player who comes to play for us and she’s been helpful.”
An assist that resulted in the conversion of 39 of his 46 extra point attempts and no doubt reflected in his experience on the football pitch.
“Did what she had to do, earned her place and from there just took her opportunities,” said defensive coordinator Hazeez Rafiu, better known as Coach Z. “And that shows a lot for our team that you know we welcome anyone who wants to play, anyone who brings energy.”
The energy that Coach Z and Mercer have themselves brought since she started kicking for the team this year.
“Her first kick, she did it, then when she ran away, I don’t think she knew I was going to try to do the shoulder thing,” Coach Z said with a big smile. “And then after that, that’s just what it became.”
Something Mercer now looks forward to after every kick.
“Just like after the first kick, I was like, ‘Oh my God, I made it,’ you know,” Mercer exclaimed. “And it was like I was running backwards and everyone was hitting me like, ‘ya that’s awesome’, and Coach Z he’s like, ‘come on Tia’, then we went and now this is just one each time.
Mercer and the rest of the Pirates will have the chance to keep their undefeated season alive in the Class A Quarter-Finals this Saturday at 1:00 p.m. as they host the Laurel Locomotives.