Warwick LB Nick Garcia reflects on big season and the “Pick of the Year”

By Justin Rodriguez

Section 9 Football Insider

If you made a highlight reel that included Section 9’s Top 2018 Plays, Warwick linebacker Nick Garcia’s one-handed interception during a regular-season win at Minisink Valley would have to be part of the tape.

That play was a testament to Garcia’s grit and toughness. He made plays such as that for the Wildcats all season at just 5-foot-11, 155 pounds. What Garcia lacked in size, he made up for with a prizefighter’s mentality and a motor that never stopped.

“The interception was an awesome play,” Garcia said. “I have it on my highlight tape and some college coaches who have seen it are like ‘Are you serious?’ I just put my arm up and I caught it. That’s how I play. I’m very cerebral and try to be at the right place at the right time.”

Garcia’s one-handed interception on Sept. 28 helped Warwick score a 23-17 come-from-behind win over the rival Warriors. His big play foiled a scoring opportunity for Minisink Valley, which was looking to put the game away. The Wildcats finished the season 5-4, losing to upstart New Paltz in the quarterfinals of the Section 9 Class A playoffs. Garcia, who hopes to become a Special Education teacher, is contemplating playing at Division III Hartwick or St. John Fisher next year.

(Warwick linebacker Nick Garcia (right) in pursuit this season.)

Hartwick might be a natural fit for Garcia. Both of his cousins John and Brad, starred at Hartwick and now are assistant coaches in the Warwick program with their father, also named John. Brad Garcia works out with his cousin Nick during the offseason and was proud of his play this fall.

“Nick is just a super hard worker,” said Brad Garcia, who graduated as Hartwick’s record holder in receptions (220) and reception yards (4,101). Brad Garcia could have pursued a professional football career in Europe or Canada, but instead decided to come home when he graduated in May of 2018. “He was like the captain of the defense on the field. Nick will do whatever you need out there. It was crazy to watch him play and I know our entire family enjoyed it. Nick did an excellent job for us out there this year.”

By exceling this year, Nick Garcia carried on a family tradition at Warwick. His grandfather, Rocco, starred for Warwick in the 1940s. He is now in his 90s and attends every Warwick game. Rocco Garcia left high school early to serve in the U.S. Navy during World War II and received his honorary Warwick high school diploma in June of 2017.

Nick’s brother, also named Rocco, played defensive lineman for the Wildcats two years ago. His father, Bill, was a standout running back for Warwick in 1981-82 and played for his older brother John. With so much history, the Garcia family has many football stories to share, which go back decades.

As far as plays, they will likely always talk about Nick’s highlight reel interception on that September night.

Follow Justin Rodriguez on Twitter at jrods9insider; Email: jrod845sports@gmail.com