BHS Alum John Merica Caps Dominating Sophomore Season at Wesleyan as First-Team All MEC Pick

By Connect-Bridgeport Staff on November 21, 2019 via

Former Bridgeport High School standout and West Virginia Wesleyan Sophomore Safety John Merica has received First Team football honors from the Mountain East Conference for the first time in his career. 
Anyone who attended a Wesleyan Football game this year should be familiar with Merica, he was the #20 that covered the entire field on defense. Coming down from the safety position, Merica finished the season with 70 solo tackles. That total is good for the third most in the entire NCAA, and the second most in the Mountain East Conference.
The sophomore from Bridgeport collected double-digit tackles in five separate games in 2019. He started off the season strong with 16 total tackles, 10 solo, in the opening game against Urbana. Merica then showed that he could hang with the best, putting up the same tackle totals against Division I Davidson the next week. He also recovered a fumble in that contest.
His most impactful game of the season may have come against West Liberty on November 9, when he recovered a fumble and made two interceptions, one of which he returned for a late touchdown to take the lead. Merica was often the best defensive player on either side when the Bobcats took the field this season, and the Mountain East Conference honored him accordingly. His 2019 season was an impressive showing from a sophomore, and Bobcats fans should be excited for two more seasons of #20.
Here is the entire team, as well as the individual award winners.
Editor's Note: Photo courtesy of West Virginia Wesleyan's Web site.
2019 MEC Individual Awards
Offensive Player of the Year: Jaleel McLaughlin (Notre Dame)
Offensive Freshman of the Year: Nick Beans (Notre Dame)
Defensive Player of the Year: Dominic Cizauskas (Glenville State)
Defensive Freshman of the Year: Bryce Sheppert (Notre Dame)
Coach of the Year: Mike Jacobs (Notre Dame)
2019 All-MEC First Team 
Pos. Name School Cl.  
QB Austin Hensley W.Va. State Sr.  
RB Tyreik McAllister Charleston Jr.  
RB Jaleel McLaughlin Notre Dame So.  
RB Tyree Randolph Fairmont State So.  
WR Javon Hayes Fairmont State Jr.  
WR Marvelle Ross Notre Dame Sr.  
WR Isaiah Scott W.Va. State Sr.  
WR Michael Strachan Charleston Jr.  
TE Zaire Mitchell Notre Dame So.  
FB/HB Dante Jones W.Va. State Jr.  
OL Jimmy Burchett Notre Dame Jr.  
OL Brandon Nicholson Notre Dame Jr.  
OL Mike Mollohan Urbana Sr.  
OL Wade Olsen Frostburg State Sr.  
OL Austin Ringel Charleston Sr.  
OL Chandler Zavala Fairmont State Jr.  
DL D.J. Adediwura Fairmont State Jr.  
DL Kenny Randall Charleston Jr.  
DL Zach Strand Frostburg State Jr.  
DL Mikal Toliver Urbana Sr.  
DL Sha'haun Williams Notre Dame Sr.  
LB Dominic Cizauskas Glenville State Sr.  
LB Dustin Crouser W.Va. State Jr.  
LB Duray Hall Urbana Jr.  
LB Guam Lee Notre Dame Jr.  
LB Trevon Shorts Fairmont State Sr.  
DB Kei Beckham Charleston Sr.  
DB Logan Deri West Liberty Sr.  
DB Delonte Hood Glenville State So.  
DB Davionn Johnson Notre Dame Jr.  
DB John Merica W.Va. Wesleyan So.  
DB Michael Porter Fairmont State Sr.  
P Justin Watts Glenville State Sr.  
K Justin Watts Glenville State Sr.  
KR/PR Marvelle Ross Notre Dame Sr.  
2019 All-MEC Second Team
QB Brant Grisel Charleston Sr.  
RB Khalik Hamlin Fairmont State Jr.  
RB Gavin Lavat Frostburg State Jr.  
RB Mario Pender Glenville State Sr.  
RB WR Sanders Urbana Jr.  
WR Javon Butler Glenville State Jr.  
WR Ryan LaFollette Wheeling So.  
WR Tremaine Ross Charleston Sr.  
TE Thomas Cole West Liberty So.  
FB/HB D.J. Greene Notre Dame Sr.  
OL Devon Bradshaw W.Va. State Sr.  
OL Lavon Cottemond W.Va. State Jr.  
OL Chris Hawkins Urbana Sr.  
OL Garrett Kapstein O'Brien Fairmont State Sr.  
OL Lonnell McGuire Fairmont State Sr.  
OL Elbert Munn Charleston Jr.  
DL Carl Igweh Frostburg State Jr.  
DL Jack Kosko Notre Dame So.  
DL Harry Lewis W.Va. Wesleyan Sr.  
DL Cody Rine West Liberty Sr.  
DL Aman Speed W.Va. Wesleyan Sr.  
DL Glenwood Williams Fairmont State Sr.  
LB LA Kelly Urbana Jr.  
LB Clay McDonald West Liberty Jr.  
LB Nate Moore Notre Dame So.  
LB Wayne Palmer Frostburg State Sr.  
LB Kenjae Rose Charleston Jr.  
DB Kyle Alexander W.Va. State Sr.  
DB Mike Bell Frostburg State Sr.  
DB Imani Moore Concord Jr.  
DB Vincent Persichetti Frostburg State Sr,  
DB Chris Richardson Urbana Sr.  
P Dominic Buttazzoni Notre Dame Fr.  
K Tanner Harding Notre Dame Jr.  
KR/PR Austin Ratliff Glenville State Jr.  
2019 All-MEC Honorable Mention
QB: Takwan Crews-Naylor (Fairmont State)
RB: Dylan Lucas (W.Va. State), Isaiah Young (Urbana)
FB/HB: Ridge Durbin (West Liberty)
WR: AJ Barrette (W.Va. State)
OL: Zach Cox (Fairmont State), Ethan Fergason (Glenville State), Mike Kyle (Notre Dame), Trey Milam (W.Va. Wesleyan), Jason Money (Frostburg State), Adam Riegler (Notre Dame), Nathan Toney (Concord)
DL: Derrick Brumfield (Notre Dame), Ryan Gattrell (Concord), Keenan Johnson (W.Va. State) Brandon Munoz (WU)
LB: Wil Mayes (Glenville State), Dwain Porterfield (Concord), James Reese (Wheeling), Grant Safford (W.Va. Wesleyan)
DB: Tevon Littleton (W.Va. State), Bryce Sheppert (Notre Dame), Sam Thomas (Glenville State)
P: Martin Ahlstroem (W.Va. State)
K: Martin Ahlstroem (W.Va. State)
KR/PR: Tywan Pearce (Concord)

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