Mark McCoy of Barnegat High School will pitch for the Wake Forest University baseball team on a scholarship next year. Many athletes in McCoy's position would have skipped the current football season to concentrate on baseball.
Not McCoy. The senior quarterback wouldn't have missed it for anything.
"There wasn't any doubt in my mind I had to play football this year," he said. "I've been playing with everyone on the team since I was 10 or 11 years old. I couldn't go in the locker room and look them in the eye and say, 'I'm not playing this year because of a baseball.' They say this is the best four years of your life, so why miss anything?"
McCoy and the Bengals (6-3) travel to West Deptford (8-1) for a South Jersey Group II semifinal at 7 p.m. today.
On last week's win over Pt. Pleasant Borough: That gave us momentum. The students were going nuts. The atmosphere was insane. Our students are getting a bus to go down to West Deptford. They're going to be traveling with us.
On Barnegat being the last Ocean County football team in the playoffs: That's an incredible honor. We've played Lacey. We've played Central. It's nice that we're the team that's left. I remember a couple of years ago when Barnegat was just starting up a football program (The Bengals' first varsity season was 2006). We were looking to the Laceys. It's great to be in their shoes for once.
On the rematch with West Deptford: Last year we were just happy to be playing in the game. This year we're hungrier. We're more determined to get to the next level and not just be a semifinalist. We want to go on to bigger and better things.
On his improvement at quarterback: I feel way more comfortable. At the beginning of the year, I was more hesitant. I was checking the plays, checking the calls. The more I play, I feel grow as a leader. I believe I've learned from the beginning of the season how to read the defenses and check the coverages. That experience helps the most.
On his decision to attend Wake Forest: It was between them and (North Carolina State). It came down to what I was more comfortable with. Both schools are amazing. Wake had that atmosphere when you walk on campus. It fit my personality.
Told to Michael McGarry