Mercer beats Anderson 26-6

September 14, 2003|LARRY VAUGHT

HARRODSBURG - Mercer County didn't do exactly what coach Duane Hammons expected. Neither did Anderson County.

"It was tough on us coming off the loss to Harrodsburg. We had a pity party Tuesday and felt sorry for ourselves after getting beat so bad. I didn't know how we would play," Hammons said. "Then Anderson County changed its offense totally. We didn't expect that. It was just one of those games where you didn't know what to expect out of either team."

The Scotties quickly put the loss to rival Harrodsburg behind them by scoring on their first two possessions in a 26-6 win over Anderson here Friday.

Mercer (2-2) got an expected superb performance from junior running back Andrew McCloud. He ran for 250 yards on 27 carries and had touchdown runs of 1 and 71 yards in the first quarter. If he had not had several runs nullified by penalties he might well have broken the single-game rushing mark of 303 yards.


McCloud still accounted for about two-thirds of Mercer's 370 yards of total offense. John Lyons rushed for 71 yards and had a 9-yard catch to supply the majority of the offense that McCloud didn't get.

"We know he can get yards," Hammons said. "We've got to develop other aspects of our offense. We felt we could move the ball with Andrew running it any time we wanted, but we've got to get other people involved. Even if he's averaging 10 yards per carry, we can't be one-dimensional and win in our district."

McCloud's first score capped an 11-play, 76-yard drive after his 50-yard punt return had been wiped out by a penalty. His long second scoring run came when he swept left end, avoided a half-hearted tackle near midfield and outran everyone to the end zone to give the Scotties a 14-6 lead.

In between those scores, Anderson got a 35-yard scoring pass from Daniel Flora to Dallas Johnson, who appeared to be juggling the ball when he crossed the goal line and then fumbled as he hit the ground.

"It looked like an incompletion to us, but take away that play and they didn't score," Hammons said.

Each time Anderson threatened, the Scotties held

That wasn't because the Scotties didn't give them opportunities. The Bearcats (0-3) had the ball in Mercer territory five times in period two when the Scotties turned the ball over twice on interceptions and once on a fumble. However, each time Anderson threatened, the Scotties held.

After giving up 159 yards in the first quarter, Mercer yielded just 24 in the second quarter against Anderson's spread offense that Hammons had not seen the Bearcats use this year.

That's why Hammons elected to let Jason Chadwick try a 21-yard field goal late in period three rather than go for a touchdown on fourth down-and-goal at the three-yard line. Chadwick got a nice hold from Michael Bottoms and made the kick for a 17-6 lead with 3 minutes, 40 seconds left in the third period.

"I wasn't really nervous because I have confidence in my snapper and holder," Chadwick said.

Junior defensive back Jordan Lyons had the same type confidence in his defensive reads when Anderson was backed inside its 10-yard line early in period four. He picked off a pass from backup quarterback Austin Goodpaster and returned it 15 yards for a score.

"I knew they were going to pass and I was ready for it," Lyons said. "It was a big stop because I knew if we just held them, we were going to win."

Lyons got his second interception on the next series when he picked off a pass by Daniel Flora. That set up a chance for Chadwick to try a 43-yard field goal. Not only did he make it, but he easily boomed it through the middle of the uprights.

"That was a college kick and certainly wasn't bad for an offensive tackle," Hammons said.

Chadwick was moved from tight end to tackle for this game. Still, no matter where he plays, he's a kicker. He played soccer as a freshman, didn't play any sport his sophomore year when the soccer team folded, and then was a backup kicker last year.

"I practice different lengths and different angles on my kicks all the time," Chadwick said. "I knew I could make it. I think the coaches probably had some doubts about whether I could make the kick, but I just wanted to show them that I could do it in case we are in that same position again."

"I'm going to check on who the kicking coach was last year," Hammons joked. "If it was anybody but me, I'm going to fire him. He's a big-time kicker and that gives us another whole dimension to our offense. Now if we can get inside the 30-yard line, we know we are at least going to score some points because of Chadwick."

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