Mercer County football players enjoy being coached by their dad

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The Mercer County Eagles play like a family, but three components on Mercer County’s team are actually related.

Coaching alongside the Eagles’ Head Coach Nat Zunkel is Assistant Coach Eric Russell, whose two sons, Tyson and Blake, are players on the team.

Eric said he never would have expected that all three of them would have the opportunity to play together like this, but feels very lucky.

“It’s so fortunate and I’m very blessed to have something like that,” Eric said.

Tyson and Blake said they love playing football with each other and being coached by their dad.

“We get together a lot at home and my dad goes over film with us,” said Tyson. “He’s a great coach and a great father, and my brother does a great job on special teams; and he makes really great plays on game days.”

“I’m nonstop talking about football at home,” said Blake. “We spend time watching film and getting ready for the next game. I love playing with my brother; he’s a really good athlete.”

All three members of the Russell football family have had triumphs and hard work as they head into the semifinal against Sterling Newman on Saturday, November 23, 2013.

Eric said his sons have had to work and prove themselves on the team. Back in 2009 Eric had a heart attack and battled to get back on his feet for the game.

“I wanted to see these guys succeed,” Eric said. “Last year it was just so great of a feeling to the winning and the 2012 season just to continue on and it really really healed me way faster than I think the normal person would have.”

“It definitely changed our lives and made us thankful that he’s still here,” said Tyson.

“It definitely made my heart just drop and I was just super nervous,” Blake recalled. “I’m just glad that he’s okay now and it definitely brought us a lot closer.”