Mercer had more size and more depth, but Harrodsburg coach Terry Yeast said his team worked hard to overcome those things.
"I knew that they were bigger, but I just knew that these guys were willing to fight," Yeast said. "Mentally, this is just a strong team.
"In practice they just go so hard. With our small numbers, we've got to work hard in practice so we're prepared on Friday night. All their hard work paid off."
Mercer coach Duane Hammons said Harrodsburg did not wear the Scotties down.
"I think if we had another quarter to play, we whup 'em," Hammons said. "Our guys are not tired at all. They made us miss in the first quarter, they made us miss in the fourth quarter. It's not because we were tired."
Mercer goes with new quarterback
Mercer got 154 yards rushing from Andrew McCloud, who scored both of the Scotties' touchdowns. But McCloud carried the ball on only one of Mercer's 10 plays in the first quarter for a single yard. The Scotties netted minus-4 yards in the period, struggling with their new quarterback, senior Jordan Lyons.
Lyons has been a running back throughout his career, and he wasn't even the Scotties' backup quarterback in the first two weeks of the season. Yet Hammons said the Mercer coaches decided last Sunday to make him their quarterback.
"We were looking for a little more mobility, and it's like putting another running back in the game," Hammons said. "He did an excellent job for being a quarterback for four days."
Michael Bottoms, the starter in the first two games, was moved to receiver. Lyons completed three passes to him for 19 yards - he was also sacked five times - and Hammons said the job is his indefinitely.
"It's my mistake for not doing this sooner," Hammons said.
Harrodsburg took a 17-7 lead on its first second-half series when Ford ran 51 yards for a score. On its next drive, Mercer went to McCloud more often than at any other point in the game - seven times in nine plays - and McCloud's 23-yard scoring run and two-point conversion made it 17-15.
The Pioneers answered with a 12-play drive culminating in Freeman Edwards' touchdown pass to Ford with 10:59 to play, then made their biggest stop of the night four plays later when McCloud got only half of the yards he needed on a fourth-and-4 run to the outside before Webb wrapped him up.
"They were running toward my side, and three or four times I got hooked," Webb said. "I started playing back a yard and reading the tackles instead of blitzing, and they gave away what McCloud was going to do."
Jackson's run extends lead
Harrodsburg took over at the Mercer 42-yard line, and Jackson broke free and raced to the end zone on the very next play to give the Pioneers a commanding lead.
Jackson had also given his team its first lead at 10-7 with a 15-yard touchdown run with 4:31 left in the second quarter.
Jackson and Ford had trouble getting outside in the first half, but Yeast they were more effective in the second half after some halftime adjustments.
"We started doing a few misdirection things, and they got the ball back up inside," Yeast said. "Cory and Brandon did an awesome job running the ball tonight."
"We know in the second half we've got to play hard," Jackson said. "The line did it for us. It looked like the holes got bigger."
Hammons said the two didn't hurt Mercer that badly.
"They were able to get about three big plays on us and those three plays put them in the end zone," Hammons said.