- Special Sections
- Public Notices
Justin Mertz's season began with a bang and ended with praise.
The Grant County High School football return specialist opened the season with a bang, taking the opening kickoff of the 2007 season back for a touchdown en route to helping lift the Braves to a 20-2 victory over Pendleton County.
Recently, the junior's ability to score any time he returned a kickoff or punt was taken into account as the other coaches in the district named Mertz the Kentucky Football Coaches Association Class 5A, Region IV All-District Team's Special Teams Player-of-the-Year.
The distinction was a complete surprise to Mertz.
"I am excited, but I had no idea it was going to happen," Mertz said.
The touchdown against Pendleton County was Mertz's lone of the year, but he was able to give the Braves good field position on every return, something that he attributes to his blocking.
"The blocking was just amazing this year," Mertz said.
From the time the ball is kicked off until it is in his hands, Mertz has several thoughts going through his head, including the 11 players on the other team looking to stop him in his tracks.
"You get the ball and all the guys on the other team want to get you and take your head off. You try to avoid them, and there's really not much you can think about. You have to find the hole and go quick," said Mertz, who said his goal next year is to have at least two returns for touchdowns and add 10-20 more yards a return.
Other members of the Grant County football team named to the All-District Team were: Randy Morris, Scott Sharrock, Joe Soden and Josh Rump to the First Team; Ethan Conley, Eric Strevels, Rodney Deno and Dillon Pelfrey to the Second Team; and Jon Cain was an Honorable Mention.