Mercer must win to have shot at a district title

Harrodsburg, Lincoln County face district foes

October 22, 2003|MIKE MARSEE

Since the summer Mercer County coach Duane Hammons has pointed toward the Scotties' game with Lloyd Memorial in hopes that the Scotties would have a shot at a district championship.

And though not everything has gone their way this season, they still do.

Mercer could finish in a tie for first place in Class AA, District 5, if it can topple the three-time defending district champion in its season finale Friday at Erlanger.

"We're definitely better prepared," Hammons said.

Hammons said the Scotties' beefed-up schedule has helped them prepare for games such as this, but Lloyd has readied itself for the district wars with an even tougher schedule.

The Juggernauts (4-4) lost 42-13 to Newport Central Catholic last week, and they have also lost non-district games to Beechwood, Dixie Heights and Mason County.


Their average score in their four wins against considerably weaker oppoents is 50-14.

"I think they're a good football team," Hammons said. "They're still senior-dominated. They are district champs until someone beats 'em."

The Scotties will take their best shot with running back Andrew McCloud, who rushed for a school-record 338 yards last week in their 47-14 victory at Henry County.

"I'm sure they're going to key on him; everybody does," Hammons said. "We also have to be able to be more diversified and do things on first down we normally don't do and use him as a decoy somewhat."

Lloyd's offense features three strong running backs, but its biggest big-play threat might be 6-3 Howard Vance, a three-year starter at receiver.

While a win would give Mercer (5-4) a shot at a No. 1 playoff seed, a loss will likely leave them third in their district after the remaining district teams play out the schedule while the Scotties are idle next week.

Harrodsburg (7-1) at Carroll County (6-2)

Harrodsburg may be facing its biggest game to date without its biggest star, but coach Terry Yeast said the Pioneers will be better prepared to play without Mark Dunn.

Dunn, who suffered an ankle injury in the first quarter last week, hadn't been cleared to practice or play as of Tuesday.

Yeast said the Pioneers are preparing for Carroll as if he won't be available, which leaves them with holes to fill at running back, linebacker and punter.

"We've adjusted a few things," he said. "It caught us off guard last week."

Freshmen Brandon Brown and Cory Jackson picked up the slack at running back, rushing for 112 and 105 yards, respectively, in Harrodsburg's 17-10 win at Owen County. Yeast noted their combined total was better than Dunn's pregame average of 224 yards.

"If we can get those guys to do what they did last week, with both of them over 100 yards, then I think we've got a chance," Yeast said.

Yeast said he would be cautious about putting Dunn back on the field.

"We're not going to rush anything," Yeast said. "It's more than just a game at this point. He's got to think about his future, and we've got to think about the playoffs."

This is a critical game for Harrodsburg, which can hold out hope for a first-place tie in Class A, District 4 if it wins but will likely finish fourth if it loses.

And Yeast said Carroll, which lost 28-22 to Frankfort last week, will be a handful for the Pioneers.

"They looked like a totally different team against Frankfort than they did against Danville (two weeks ago)," Yeast said. "If we're in a tight game, we've got to be disciplined and do all the little things right to beat a team like Carroll."

Pulaski Southwestern (2-6) at Lincoln County (2-6)

Lincoln can still hold out hope of snaring a playoff berth and sending its seniors out with a win in their home finale, but coach Robbie Lucas said those things won't be possible if the Patriots can't capitalize on their opportunities better than in their 42-13 loss to Pulaski County last week.

"We drive the ball pretty effectively up and down the field, but we have nothing to show for it," Lucas said. "We should be scoring points right now. We just didn't finish drives."

Lincoln will try to improve this week against a strong Southwestern defense.

"Their defense has done pretty well against some pretty good teams," Lucas said.

Lucas said the Warriors' offense is on an uptick, too. After an 0-6 start, they have scored 119 points in easy wins over Marion County and Taylor County.

"You can tell by the numbers they've put up the last couple of weeks their offense is just starting to click," he said.

Lucas said the Lincoln seniors deserve a good sendoff in their final home game, particularly after their role in revitalizing the team in its last four games.

"We'd love to send these seniors out with a win," he said. "They've turned things around with their leadership and their attitude and their effort."

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