Scotties confuse Hammons

September 10, 2003|JILL ERWIN

HARRODSBURG - Mercer County's Duane Hammons is having trouble reading his young team.

The Scotties are coming off a 48-12 loss to crosstown rival Harrodsburg heading into a matchup with border rival Anderson County here Friday. Hammons is trying to figure out how his team will react.

"When you have a young team, it's hard to gauge what's happening in their heads," Hammons said. "Our motto has been 'Get better every single day.' Hopefully the kids will respond to being at home in a friendly environment. There probably won't be as much emotion as in the past, definitely not as much as Friday because this is not a Harrodsburg."

But it is a game that has been one of Mercer's most physical tests in the past. Hammons said that won't change this year, as Anderson brings more big players across the line where the Bearcats average 6-5, 290 pounds at tackle. For a Mercer team that is uncharastically small, that could be a problem.


"They push you around," Hammons said. "It's going to be a very physical game, a game where I hope we don't get pushed around too much.

"Hopefully we can run around them. We're a big-play team and hopefully we can get a couple of big plays off. Defensively, we have to keep them from sustaining drives, moving the ball three, four, five yards at a time, and driving slowly down the field. We've got to push them back once or twice."

Anderson County averaging 7 points a game

Anderson's offense hasn't been much, scoring 14 total points in its first two matchups. The Bearcats are coming off a bye week, but lost 40-6 to Woodford County in their opener and then fell 56-8 in its second game to Shelby County.

Quarterback Daniel Flora was 7-of-12 for 105 yards against Shelby, and receiver Ben James caught five passes for 72 yards. Running back Austin Goodpaster scored Anderson's only touchdown of the game.

"They're mainly a run offense," Hammons said. "They'll run it at you and they're very good at what they do. They're not real fancy, they have very few formations, but they use their size to overpower you."

Hammons is hoping his team's passing game will improve to allow the Scotties to use their running game to their advantage. Sophomore Michael Bottoms is just 6-of-33 passing for 69 yards with no touchdowns and five interceptions this season.

Hammons said it's been a combination of Bottoms learning the position, the line not giving him enough time, and receivers running the wrong routes and dropping passes. The Mercer coach said the time has come to change that.

"We have got to be able to throw the ball to open it up," Hammons said. "If a team doesn't respect what we're doing with the passing game, they're not going to line up out there. Teams are playing us, basically, without any (defensive backs).

"Right now, they're thinking so hard that we have to throw the ball that they're putting too much pressure on themselves. They need to just play and quit trying to worry about what's coming next."

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