Football ties run deep for Wareham Vikings player
With a grandfather and father who played for the Wareham Vikings, not to mention a close family friend who went on to join the NFL, football may have seemed a perfect fit for Issac Nascimento. But it wasn’t at first.
“When I started playing at 8 years old, I didn’t like it at all,” said Nascimento. “I wasn’t one of those kids who wanted to hit.”
Things have certainly changed.
The junior, who has emerged as an elite running back in the South Coast Conference, has put up some impressive numbers in the team’s first three games. Against Bourne on Sept. 23, he rushed for 237 yards and scored four touchdowns. He was hoping to play in the fourth quarter to break the school’s record for most touchdowns in a single game, which is six.
“That’s the one I want to get,” said Nascimento.
He’s worked hard to get there. One week after the team’s Thanksgiving Day game, he joined Seaside Crossfit and put on 22 pounds of muscle. Over the summer, he attended football camps with players from across the country to continue his training.
And pushing him through it all is his father, Eric, a former Viking himself.
“I get a lot of my motivation from my father. Criticism too, but it’s always constructive and helps me get better for the next game,” said Issac.
Eric speaks from experience. He and Issac’s grandfather, Phillip Gomes (who is Eric’s father-in-law), both played for the town’s Pop Warner team, the Tigers. Both won the Senior Tiger Award, which is given to a player who came up through the youth league and showed dedication to the sport. Eric also gives back to the Tigers, serving as a coach for one of the teams.
“Who knows, maybe my son will win it next,” said Eric.
Eric, who played on the 1995 team that won the state Super Bowl, was teammates with Stephen Cooper. The Wareham native went on to play for the San Diego Chargers and remains close with the Nascimentos.
It’s those bonds formed on the football field, Eric said, that makes the sport a special one for the family. He recalled when a Tigers team, including Issac, traveled to Florida for a National Championship game in 2013. The team lost, but getting there was a victory in itself. “The guys on that team have a special bond, they all have the same memories and no matter what they’ll remain good friends, even if they don’t keep in touch,” said Eric.
Watch Issac, and the rest of the Vikings, take the field against Fairhaven at 7 p.m. on Sept. 30 at Fairhaven High School. Both teams have 1-2 records.