POLSON — The Polson Pirates football team finished the regular season undefeated and Tia Mercer fulfilled the pivotal role of kicker in her senior year.
"It’s been really fun," said first year kicker Tia Mercer. "It’s a totally different dynamic than anything that I’ve ever experienced. It’s just a big sense of family and everything, and it’s a lot more intense."
And the lifelong soccer player who just picked up kicking this year has been met with open arms by the football team.
"You know you just kinda treat it like she’s just another teammate coming onto the team," said fellow senior and teammate Tyler Wenderoth. "You don’t really look at it like she’s a girl like she’s any different. She’s just another player coming to play for us and she’s been helpful."
Help that has come through the conversion of 39 of her 46 extra point attempts and no doubt translated from her experience on the soccer field.
"Did what she needed to do, won her spot and then from there she just took advantage of her opportunities," said Defensive Coordinator Hazeez Rafiu, better known as Coach Z. "And it just shows a lot for our team that you know we welcome anyone who wants to play, anyone who brings the energy."
Energy that Coach Z and Mercer have brought themselves ever since she started kicking for the team this year.
"Her first kick she made it, and then when she ran off I don’t think she knew that I was gonna try and do the shoulder thing," said Coach Z with a big smile. "And then after that that’s just what it became."
Something that Mercer now looks forward to after every kick.
"Just like after the first kick I was like, ‘oh my gosh I made it,’ you know," exclaimed Mercer. "And it was just like I’m running back and everyone’s hitting me like, 'ya this is awesome,' and coach Z he’s just like,' c'mon Tia,’ and then we just went for it and now it’s just an every time thing.
Mercer and the rest of the Pirates will have the chance to keep their undefeated season alive in the Class A quarterfinals this Saturday at 1:00pm as they host the Laurel Locomotives.