Garrard and Mercer have their own styles

September 22, 2004|MIKE MARSEE

One team's offensive game plan will be relatively simple, the other somewhat more complex. And both attacks figure to present their own unique problems when Garrard County and Mercer County meet Friday night.

"It's going to be two different offensive styles of play," Garrard coach Steve Stonebraker said. "We're going to spread (the field) with four or five different receivers sometimes, and they're going to be in various formations, but when they get in those various formations, they'll still be looking to get the ball to 34."

Mercer coach Duane Hammons said he has a pretty good idea how Garrard will try to stop 34, running back Andrew McCloud.

"Their strength is getting to the football," Hammons said. "Their line is just huge and they're going to try to clog it up and let their athletes make plays on the perimeter."


On the other hand, Stonebraker said he isn't sure what to expect from the Mercer defense.

"I don't know what Duane's going to do," he said. "They usually all do something that we haven't seen before."

Both defenses will have their hands full

Both defenses will have their hands full with the two headliners in this game, Mercer's McCloud and Garrard quarterback Spencer Crutchfield.

Crutchfield did most of the damage in last year's game at Garrard, rushing for 258 yards and three touchdowns and throwing for 202 yards and three more scores as the Golden Lions rolled up 558 yards to end an eight-game losing streak against Mercer.

This season, Crutchfield has 611 rushing yards - nearly two-thirds of his team's total - and 435 passing yards, with six touchdowns on the ground and six in the air.

"He's a smart player, a very smooth, very intelligent player," Hammons said. "I like to watch him play. He never does anything to hurt Garrard County."

McCloud has scored 13 of Mercer's 16 touchdowns, and he has rushed for 910 yards, averaging 7.2 yards per carry.

He got only 99 yards against Garrard last year, but Stonebraker said he also hurt the Lions on kick returns, just as he did last week at Russell County when he returned three kickoffs for 165 yards.

"We've got to do a whole lot better job on him this year than what we did last year," Stonebraker said.

Stonebraker said Garrard must also be on guard against the running and passing threat posed by Mercer quarterback Jordan Lyons, as well as by former quarterback Michael Bottoms, who is now the Scotties' leading receiver with 12 catches for 123 yards.

Hammons said Mercer can't focus only on stopping Crutchfield because of the danger posed by Zach Doan, Garrard's second-leading rusher with 208 yards.

Hammons said it proves that this game will about more than just two star players.

"There'll be two real good football players here Friday night, and there'll be a lot of other good kids who deserve recognition also," Hammons said.

Mercer has won two straight

Mercer enters this game on something of a roll after back-to-back wins over Anderson County and Russell County. Hammons said the thing that stood out last week at Russell was the Scotties' offensive line play.

"We made some big holes," he said. "Most of Andrew's (288) yards he broke were right through the middle of the field."

Garrard gained its first winning record of the season by beating Madison Southern last week, when Crutchfield ran for 240 yards and passed for 85 more. But Stonebraker said the game might not have been as close as it was had the Lions' tackling been better, and he said it must be better this week against Mercer.

"We definitely had a real problem up front wrapping up ball-carriers," he said. "McCloud's a back you've got to wrap up. The first man who gets there has to wrap him up so we can try to get them in short-yardage situations and shut down their offense."

The two teams combined for 777 offensive yards and 79 points last year, although Garrard had the lion's share of those numbers. Hammons said he expects another entertaining game, no matter how high the numbers go.

"When you see these two teams go at each other, it's always fun," he said.

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