All football players are ready to get back on the field.
But none more than Nick Marricone.
Marricone is a senior at Penn Charter High School, and he’s ready to start his final year of high school football. In reality, he’s also ready to start his first year of high school football.
When the Winchester Park native got to high school, he suffered a torn ACL, MCL and meniscus, ending his season. The knee woes carried into his sophomore year, spoiling most of that.
Last year, he was ready to get at it, but he was unable to play the first game of the year because he came in contact with someone who was dealing with coronavirus. It wouldn’t have been so bad, but that accounted for half of the games the Quakers played last year.
“I never had it, but I couldn’t play, and I couldn’t practice most of the week before our second game,” said Marricone, who started at left guard in the Quakers’ victory over Germantown Academy last year. “I didn’t practice much, I just went in and I think I did pretty good. I had some nice blocks and we won. We beat GA, and that’s what you always want.
“I can’t wait to get started this year, I feel like it’s my first year in some ways. I’ve been working out and practicing, but I haven’t played. I really hope this year is a good year for me.”
He has a big job ahead of him.
Last year, the Quakers had one of the best left tackles in the state in the form of Ty Needham, who is now playing at Rutgers. During practice and games, Marricone would watch the stud lineman take care of business. And Needham was very generous in passing on any tips he could to his younger teammate.
That should pay dividends this year when Marricone moves from left guard to tackle to anchor the Quakers’ offensive line.
“They needed someone to step up in a big spot, and I’m ready because I learned so much from working with Ty,” said Marricone, who is also slated to work in at defensive end this year. “He pretty much took me under his wing and helped me, and when you have someone like that do that, you can’t help but learn.
“He was a ton of help, just seeing him there was help, but I would ask him. I talk to him, especially now that he graduated, and I”ll talk to him a lot if I have questions. It means a lot, because I know I have to step up, I”m the next option for the team. But I wouldn’t be able to do it if it wasn’t for him. He’s helped me so much.”
Needham definitely was there to give an assist when needed, and so was the coaching staff at Penn Charter. But Marricone has been doing the heavy lifting both figuratively and literally to make sure he’s fully prepped for the season.
That means setting his alarm early and being at Penn Charter for daily workouts that start at 7 a.m. sharp.
“I don’t mind it at all because you do have to get up early, but you go, you work hard for a few hours and then you have the whole day to yourself,” said Marricone, who wakes up daily at 5:30 a.m. to leave his house by 6:15 to get him and two teammates to the workout sessions. “If you want to win, you have to do it, and it’s nice to do it, but be done with it around 9 so you can have the rest of the day to do whatever you want.”
Marricone might have the rest of the day to himself, but he does have a job he loves. He’s a lifeguard at Winchester Swim and Tennis Club, which sits about a block away from his house You don’t see a lot of offensive linemen working as lifeguards, but this one takes a lot of pride in his work.
“I love it,” said Marricone, who is also involved in a program that helps special-needs people learn how to swim. “I love interacting with all the kids, making all the friends. You do have to be in shape, you had to do 14 laps and tread water with no hands and do all the saves. Written tests. It was a good workout, it helps me get into better shape, swimming a lot.”
He’s just as active at Penn Charter as he is at the pool.
On top of being a lineman, he throws the shot put for the indoor and outdoor track teams, and he’s also an ambassador, introducing prospective students to all the things that Penn Charter offers.
“Going to Penn Charter was definitely the best decision I’ve ever made,” Marricone said. “I love the academics at Penn Charter. I do very well in school, but (the teachers) are there to help. I love the smaller class sizes. Whenever I’m not getting something, they’re there to help.”
He hopes this year he helps the football team have a memorable season. And he’s ready to make up for lost time from when he wasn’t able to get on the field the last few years.
“I think we have the potential to have a great year, we can beat anyone if we keep working,” Marricone said. “I love our league, we play teams like Malvern Prep and Germantown Academy. They’re great teams, I really can’t wait to play them.
“We play Judge this year, too. I’m looking forward to that game because I know all the guys from grade school. We’re friends, but I really want to beat them. We play a tough schedule, it’s fun. You know when you win, you deserve it. I think we can win a lot.”