Russell next test for Mercer

September 17, 2003|MIKE MARSEE

HARRODSBURG - The learning process continues for Mercer County, but the Scotties are out to prove that learning doesn't necessarily equate to losing.

Mercer is 2-2 and coach Duane Hammons said the Scotties have learned some valuable lessons.

"They're understanding that they're in a battle every game, but their attitude's getting good, and I'm tickled in the improvement we've had," Hammons said. "I'm tickled with the way our kids are responding to some of the challenges we've put to them. They're not doing everything right now, and that's why we play these early games."

The Scotties' education continues Friday when they face Russell County, a program that bears several similarities to Mercer.

The two schools are of similar size, and both teams have enjoyed some success in recent years. Both teams are also trying to rebuild after losing a number of seniors last season.

The difference is that Russell is also trying to rebuild with a new coach as Vic Clark and an all-new staff took over this season.


"He's still trying to get his system in," Hammons said. "I think it's been a transition time for those kids. It's a situation where players and coaches and fans are just getting used to him."

Russell lost its first three games before beating Taylor County last week.

"If you go by the ratings they weren't supposed to beat them," Hammons said. "They'll be on a little bit of a high."

Quarterback is key to Russell's offense

The Mercer coach said Russell's offense revolves around its quarterback.

"He can throw the ball, and he's probably also their best running back," Hammons said. "He runs the ball, he returns kickoffs and punts. He's dangerous.

"He's got decent speed to where he can run around you. Our first objective is to be able to slow him down."

The Lakers will face a Mercer defense that Hammons said has made strides recently. The Mercer coach said he was especially impressed with the defensive front.

"We had one senior on the front line," he said. "It looks good that those kids are improving enough to where we can shut (Anderson) out from the second quarter on."

Hammons was also happy about the work the linemen did on offense ahead of running back Andrew McCloud, who rushed for 252 yards against Anderson.

"I know Andrew's one of the best running backs in the area, but when you have a 252-yard game the offensive line had to do something for you," Hammons said. "That's a credit to how far our offensive line has come so far.

"We're running the ball better than I thought we would. We're not a dominant team up front, but we can do some things to get some open backs."

Hammons said the fact that Mercer gained more than 300 yards on the ground last week is even more impressive given that opposing defenses aren't respecting the pass.

"I would love to be able to run for 200 and pass for 200, but right now our passing game is not there," he said. "Our passing game is not there yet, and other teams know our passing game is not there, yet we were able to put up 300 yards rushing."

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