Chadwick's 3 field goals help Mercer win 23-14

September 21, 2003|MARTY WARREN

HARRODSBURG - Every win doesn't have to come easy, even when a team sometimes seems to dominate the game from start to finish.

Mercer County never trailed here Friday night against Russell County, but the Scotties could never put away the stubborn Lakers, either.

Just when it looked as though they would have a comfortable lead, Russell came through with a big play to stop Mercer's momentum.

In the end, though, Mercer's defense intercepted Russell quarterback Brendon Smith four times and the Scotties received three timely field goals from senior Jason Chadwick to hold on to a 23-14 homecoming win.


On a night when Russell keyed on Mercer junior Andrew McCloud's every move and limited him to 72 yards - he entered the game averaging nearly 144 yards a game - Mercer coach Duane Hammons never thought twice about calling on Chadwick, who drilled field goals of 39, 33 and 42 yards.

"I won't hesitate to use him if we cross the 40-yard line if we can't punch it into the end zone," Hammons said. "He has such a strong leg that I am thinking we are going to get at least three points. He just adds another weapon into our arsenal."

Bottoms gives offense a boost

While Russell stopped the running game to some extent, Hammons received a pleasant surprise from sophomore quarterback Michael Bottoms, who was 6-for-11 passing for 68 yards and one score.

"We have to pass to ball at times to be effective," Hammons added. "If we don't, teams will just crowd the line of scrimmage and dare us to throw.

"Michael did a nice job tonight finding his open receivers, and they did a good job of holding on to the football."

After a scoreless first period, Mercer hit paydirt two plays into the second frame. McCloud gained 27 yards and Jordan Lyons raced 14 more to the Lakers' six-yard line.

After a 3-yard loss, Bottoms found Lyons over the middle for the touchdown to cap the 76-yard, nine-play drive.

Chadwick tacked on the extra point for a 7-0 lead less than a minute into the quarter.

Russell mishandled the ensuing kickoff and Mercer's defense forced a short punt that McCloud returned to the Russell 23.

It took seven plays, but Bottoms got the Scotties on the scoreboard again with a 1-yard quarterback sneak to give Mercer a 14-0 advantage.

Jordan Lyons' interception set up the Scotties' next score and Chadwick drilled a 39-yard field goal to make it 17-0.

"Our defense bent at times tonight, but they didn't break," Hammons said. "We're still young and we are not real big up front, and they stepped up to make some big plays when they had to."

Russell put points on the board just before the half ended.

Kendall Catron, who rushed for 137 yards on 24 attempts, carried eight straight times during the short 49-yard drive.

Scotties lead 17-7 at halftime

The Lakers scored when Smith passed three yards to Daniel Eubank to trim the lead to 17-7 at the half.

Chadwick added a 33-yard field goal with 4:10 to play in the third period, but Russell answered just before the quarter came to a close when Catron broke four would-be tackles to go 28 yards to score to cut the lead to 20-14 entering the fourth stanza.

Interceptions by Seth Lamar and Blake Arnold kept the Lakers at bay in the fourth period and Chadwick added his third field goal of the game - this time from 42 yards into the wind - to give the Scotties (3-2) a 23-14 lead.

Hammons was pleased to escape with the win heading into the game next week with Class AA district rival Garrard County.

"It was an ugly win, but we'll take it," the Mercer coach said. "I hate homecoming games. The kids were not focused coming into the game and that is the way they practiced, too.

"We'll have to play a lot better next week if we want to compete with Garrard County."

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