WARSAW – Watching Harrison Mevis at a recent practice, one wouldn’t gather the senior is one of the most coveted athletes among his craft.
Mevis will be among the most watched athletes in Kosciusko County this fall, not only as the wall in front of the Warsaw soccer goal, but also on Friday nights as the kicker and punter for the Tiger football team. The two-sport star returns to the soccer program as one of the top keepers in northern Indiana, and in football pads, is one of the top-ranked kickers in the country.
The reality of Mevis’ senior season is he is just one of the guys. Running late to a soccer practice last week after coming across campus from football practice, Mevis had to watch as the first team ran through drills until he was ready to jump in. Mevis, though, likely won’t find himself on the outside looking in coming back to a Tiger soccer team that expects to create one of the toughest defenses in the state. Mevis’ biggest challenge could be staying focused, given Warsaw allowed just 14 goals in 18 matches in 2018.
Mevis was a wall as a junior, earning All-Northern Lakes Conference honors and helping Warsaw to a top-10 state ranking in 2018. With players like All-State defender Tedros Berelsman and seniors Aden Wade, Jose Sanchez and Alex Brown all returning to create a tenured back line, Mevis’ job could be a lot easier than anticipated.
“There’s really no tricks or special formula to doing the task at hand to the best of your ability,” stated Mevis his dual citizenship in soccer and football. “You always have to stay ready because my job is to be ready at all times for one kick or one save. Those are the moments that can win or lose games, and I don’t want to let my teams down because I’m not prepared.”
Speaking of All-State, Mevis’ “other” job already has him on the national radar. Mevis is ranked as the No. 2 place kicker in the country per the Kohl’s Kicking Rankings, and is the No. 10-ranked punter, to boot, per the Kohl’s criteria. Among the scouting notes for Mevis on the Kohl’s rankings chart include, “His field goals both in charting and drill work were just different than other D1 k/p. College coaches will love his field goal height and clean rotation. He and Josh Karty have the best field goal range in the country.
“Mevis easily hits 60 yarders every day he kicks. Mevis is a big-time college prospect and an Under Armour All-American.”
Sound familiar? It should, because Harrison’s brother, Andrew, was an Under Armour All-American kicker for the Tigers and also played soccer at the same time. Andrew now kicks for Fordham University and the junior is ranked as one of the top kickers in the Patriot League. Harrison, who swears the coordinated career track was not planned, is weighing options for college football which include offers from Army and the Air Force Academy.
“He showed me the way, he showed me the light,” Harrison said of Andrew’s influence. “I have really followed in his footsteps quite a bit. I thought soccer was going to be number one for me. But after watching him have a lot of success in doing both, doing double time playing Friday nights and Saturday nights and Tuesday nights, he brought me along. It was slowly, but I’m having fun doing it the same way he did.”
While Mevis’ aim is kicking footballs on Saturday at the next level, he is still committed to taking Warsaw soccer to the next level. The Tigers were 4-0-3 in the NLC last season but were short of Northridge’s 6-0-1 mark in the conference race. Warsaw, which went 9-3-6 overall and finished ranked No. 12 in the final Class 3-A poll, remember the third loss the most, a stunning 1-0 defeat to Fort Wayne Wayne at the Homestead Sectional. Head coach Frank Courtois noted policy doesn’t change with his squad, who come into this fall with a very large chip on its shoulder.
“Last year, we did take a blow to the face in the first round of the sectional,” Courtois said. “The kids realize that coming into this year, that we have to play a lot better game to game to make sure those things don’t happen again.”
Berelsman, an All-NLC, All-District and All-State performer, returns as one of the linchpins for the Tigers. While Berelsman had just one assist credited to his body of work, his physical play and all-around hustle is hard to miss, and hard to play against.The experience of seniors Wade, Sanchez and Brown in the back third should give Warsaw a lockdown unit that pitched six shutouts a season ago.
Warsaw also returns a trio of capable scorers in seniors Jorge Rico, Jose Lara and Blake Burns, which combined to score 20 goals and assist on eight others last fall.
Courtois noted the Tigers will take a more offensive approach than in year’s past, and hope its trio of returning scorers can open up matches a little more.
“We do have a deep bench and that is where we should be able to handle this schedule,” Courtois said. “We have a deep midfield, which will allow us to play the schedule we have and play three games a week.”
Over half of Warsaw’s schedule features teams that finished ranked in the final 2018 poll, including Class 3-A No. 6 Fort Wayne Carroll to open the season at home on Aug. 17, a date at Class 2-A No. 1 South Bend St. Joe and a home date with Mishawaka Marian to end the month before diving head first into a brutal NLC slate.