Monroe uses defense similar to Mercer County

August 18, 2004|JILL ERWIN

HARRODSBURG - Duane Hammons said Monroe County has a familiar look on defense, one he's designed himself for the Mercer County Scotties.

"They're very similar to us," Hammons said. "It's like looking in a mirror."

The Falcons employ the same 4-4 look Mercer does, and Hammons said he and Monroe coach John Myers have the same outlook. Hammons hopes that familiarity will pay off for the Scotties in their opener Friday at Tompkinsville.

"Everyone talks about (running back Andrew) McCloud doing everything, but I think we've got enough weapons that if they concentrate on one person, we can use some others to do some damage," Hammons said.

Hammons was pleased with what he saw from his team in its final scrimmage last week against Washington County. The Commanders tested Mercer with a run-and-shoot offense, but Brandon Scheller had an interception and McCloud knocked down several passes.


"It was a real good tuneup, and I'm kind of excited after seeing what Monroe is going to try to do to us," Hammons said.

Monroe is a passing team led by 6-5 quarterback Rusty Hawkins. The Falcons can send as many as five players out wide for Hawkins to look to as targets with no one in the backfield. However, Monroe can also change to an I-formation and give the ball to junior Miles Tooley.

"He's the definition of a scatback," Hammons said. "You think they're going to pass, pass, pass and then they put a fullback in front of him and he just powers right at you. He does a good job.

"It's very much a contrast between Hawkins and Tooley. They put Hawkins in the pocket and try to pick you apart, then they run a guy you can't even see."

Hawkins' top targets are Ryan Hammer and Barrett Hamilton. Hammons said Hamilton also shares running back duties with Tooley and is an elusive runner.

Myers can sometimes go to a 4-3 against wideouts, and Hammons said that can be a real problem when there's not enough blockers. While Monroe isn't that large across the defensive line, sophomore Billy Joe Murphy caught Hammons' eye.

"I'm real impressed with him," Hammons said. "He seemed to make a lot of plays. He's very aggressive."

Hammons said he expects the Scotties to also be aggressive Friday. The team's two scrimmages have shown some weaknesses, but have also proven to Hammons that he has a team that's not afraid to work.

"The kids are wanting to put on a real uniform, not just a practice jersey," Hammons said. "They're further along than I had hoped. I'm real excited to get them on the field. There's a lot of coaching to do, because I watched our film, and we have a lot of corrections we can make. But the overall effort has been just tremendous."

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