Uniform number inspires Merkel QB, our ATFCU Player of the Week


MERKEL, Texas - During Merkel's 48-22 victory at Stanton, senior Cole Wilkerson did something not even gunslinging quarterbacks can usually do.

The Badger needed just eight completions to rack up 240 yards -- an average of 30 yards per completion -- to go along with three touchdowns, and 85 rushing yards.

"That's all Jonah [White] and Zach [Owens]," said Wilkerson. "They make plays and make me look good."

Wilkerson's main target was White, a speedy junior receiver, who hauled in six passes for 154 yards and two scores, including a 75-yarder.

"He's a pretty good quarterback, and he's smart," White said. "He's a pretty good leader. He'll get on to you if ain't workin' hard."

For the past two seasons Wilkerson has worn number 30, an unusual uniform number for a quarterback, but it holds a special meaning.

"One of my friends asked me to wear it for him because his brother passed away," said Wilkerson. "He took on the number and he wanted me to carry it on for him."

Wilkerson's friend, Austin Newberry, wore number 30 after his brother, Michael, passed away in October of 2013.

Wilkerson said seeing the number on his jersey or the side of his helmet inspires him to give his best.

"I looked up to [Austin] a lot my freshman and sophomore years because he was the starting quarterback. It makes me want to play a lot harder.

"Play for him. Play for his brother."

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