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Pittsburgh Tribune-Review Q&A: Baldwin's Nick Barca

randy jarosz | for the south hills record
Baldwin running back Nick Barca (21) turns the corner against Peters Township linebacker Jake Uhler (28) during the Indians' 33-28 season-opening win.

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'American Coyotes' Series

Traveling by Jeep, boat and foot, Tribune-Review investigative reporter Carl Prine and photojournalist Justin Merriman covered nearly 2,000 miles over two months along the border with Mexico to report on coyotes — the human traffickers who bring illegal immigrants into the United States. Most are Americans working for money and/or drugs. This series reports how their operations have a major impact on life for residents and the environment along the border — and beyond.

Thursday, Sept. 12, 2013, 12:01 a.m.
 

Nick Barca had a breakout game for Baldwin by rushing for 218 yards, including an 83-yard touchdown, in a 38-6 victory over Plum last week. The 5-foot-9, 175-pound senior, who switched to tailback this season after starting at receiver last fall, is the youngest of three brothers from Bronx, N.Y., to play for the Fighting Highlanders. Baldwin (1-1) plays host to Penn Hills (2-0) Friday in the Quad Central.

Q: What did it mean to have a 200-yard game like that?

A: It definitely gets the team going and puts us on the right track. It gives us motivation to beat better teams. We're not satisfied with the win. We want to make the playoffs. Baldwin hasn't been to too many playoffs, so we want to be a team that makes history.

Q: What do you remember most about the Penn Hills game last year?

A: It was exciting to play on television (on Root Sports). You play harder, knowing that there are college scouts watching, and we wanted to show the community how much work we put in during the offseason. They kicked a field goal with three seconds left to beat us. I've never had a feeling like that after a game. After how hard we played all game, that was a heartbreaker, watching it go through the goalposts.

Q: What is it like to be the featured back this season?

A: Last year, I was more of a defensive player. I led the team in tackles (85). This year, I'm focusing more on offense and putting points on the board.

Q: How hard has it been to seesenior safety Jay Morrison out with nerve damage in his shoulder?

A: It's tough. Jay is like a brother to me. We're best friends, and he's always at my house. It's heartbreaking, knowing he always had my back on the field. I had to take his spot at free safety. Now, we've got a good free safety in Nick Altavilla, who is splitting reps with me.

Q: Your dad, Dom, is a chef at Thee Olde Place Inn in Baldwin. What's your favorite pregame dish?

A: Definitely the pasta and meatballs. I have a plate before every game. You've got to get the carbs in, but not too much. Just enough to get me going.

Q: Do you have any other pre-game rituals?

A: I wear a shirt with a big cross on it under my pads every game that belonged to my brother Billy, who passed away in 2009. It definitely gives me more motivation to play. It puts the anger inside me. When I run angry, I run faster and harder. I'm a better ballplayer when I'm mad.

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