By Rob Long

Head Coach Patrick Nixon is in his fifth year with the Mervo Mustangs football program. For those of you who know about the vocational high school in Baltimore City, you know it’s been known for having solid athletes and seldom has been a program that you could circle your schedule for an automatic win, but they haven’t been known to hang championship banners either.

The school sits in a difficult position both geographically and educationally. Geographically, it’s practically across the street from Baltimore City College (City). Academically, it has to compete with schools such as, again, City and Poly. In addition, Dunbar has gotten first pick of the type of kids Mervo wants.

Think about the pecking order of Baltimore City Public Schools and ask yourself this, “Where does Mervo fall?” That’s the uphill battle that men like Coach Nixon has faced for a long time while trying to build a consistent powerhouse on the gridiron.

Over the past two seasons, Mervo has fielded a championship junior varsity program while winning one JV championship and appearing in another. This year Coach Nixon says the JV team is good again as they build from the ground up.

The results of that has been a 3-0 start for the young men in the varsity program. They began the season with an impressive 27-0 win over a tough Patterson team. While Coach Nixon mentioned the Clippers were missing a couple of starters, if you know Patterson, you know they come to play every week.

The next week they faced the Dunbar Poets and won 14-8. It’s Dunbar. Need I say more? Last week the Mustangs defensive line by committee put together an outstanding performance against Douglass High School with an 18-8 win. Nixon, a former defensive coordinator at Cardinal Gibbons, takes pride in a smash mouth defense that sets the tone for the downhill running style of the offense.

With road trips to Ben Franklin, Poly and City on the horizon, it’s tough to predict how this Mervo team will finish, but veteran leadership has gotten them this far. Led by Junior quarterback Garvin Nicholson, the Mustangs have a Field General who will not let them lose focus. That and a stellar running game led by Seniors Tyreke Rudolph, who has 415 yards rushing and 4 touchdowns while Anthony Simpson keeps defenses honest. His 115 yard performance against Douglass told opponents that the Mustangs’ rushing attack isn’t one dimensional.

Coach Nixon says this team has worked hard to get where they are right now. He boasts about the amount of work they put in during the summer and how these young men want to win and build their own legacy for a school that desperately wants to be considered a City powerhouse in football.

What will the future hold for Mervo? Well, the answer to that question remains to be seen. While there are kids who wear the Mustang uniform that envisioned themselves elsewhere when they were in middle school, their hard work and commitment to Mervo has folks taking notice to what’s going on down Hillen Road.
 


 

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