Mercer needs win over Lloyd

October 20, 2004|MIKE MARSEE

HARRODSBURG - The Mercer County Scotties know exactly where they are and exactly what they're up against.

Mercer is in a familiar position entering its regular-season finale Friday against Lloyd Memorial. It's right where the Scotties were last year, but they're trying to affect a different result this time.

The Scotties (5-4, 2-1 district) must win to preserve any hope of finishing first or second in the district and hosting a first-round game in the Class AA playoffs. Coach Duane Hammons knows it won't be easy to knock off Lloyd.

"They're always the team to beat in my mind," Hammons said. "They've been the district champions every year we've been in this district."


In fact, Lloyd (5-3, 2-0) has won its last 21 district games, including all 18 games since the Juggernauts and Scotties were placed in the same district in 2001.

"Once they get in the district, they've been rolling," Hammons said.

Mercer's best showing against Lloyd was in the teams' first meeting in 2001, which Lloyd won 34-28. Lloyd beat the Scotties 28-14 in 2002 and 65-19 last year, when the Juggernauts got all the way to the state semifinals before losing to eventual Class AA champion Belfry.

Lloyd has been outscored 167-28 in its three losses this season to Beechwood, Dixie Heights and Newport Central Catholic, but all of those teams are ranked in the top 10 in their classes.

"I don't know if they're more vulnerable and giving up more points or if it's just that the teams they've played have been really good," Hammons said.

Mercer held off an improved Henry County in a 27-21 overtime win last week, and Hammons said he hopes the Scotties will carry some of that momentum into this week.

"Some people will look at that and say, 'Well, it's just Henry County,' but we beat a 6-1 football team that really felt like they could win the ballgame."

Jordan Lyons threw the winning touchdown pass to Michael Bottoms to beat Henry. It was only Lyons' second completion of the game, but both were for touchdowns.

"We've got to get him throwing more," Hammons quipped.

Lyons has completed 53.3 percent of his passes for 598 yards and seven touchdowns. Mercer's passing game generated only 510 yards and four touchdowns in all 11 games in 2003.

McCloud is 46 yards away from 5,000

Meanwhile, running back Andrew McCloud continues his march on 5,000 career yards. McCloud, who has 1,763 yards this season, needs 46 to become the 24th player in state history to reach the 5,000-yard mark.

He is guaranteed only one more game after Friday, because the Scotties' open date falls on the final week of the regular season.

"I truly hate having this last week open," Hammons said.

Hammons said it makes Friday's game even more important for his team.

"If we get a win, the off week will be a much nicer week," he said.

That won't be easy against a Lloyd team with a typically strong running game led by junior tailback Dara Webb, who has 921 yards and 12 touchdowns. Junior quarterback Jeremy Addington, a first-year starter, doubled his season total with three interceptions last week in the loss to NewCath and has a .463 completion rate for 659 yards and seven touchdowns.

Hammons said the Juggernauts also have a speedy receiver in senior Anthony Ewell and a powerful lineman to run behind in 6-5, 308-pound senior Avery Denkin.

"He's maybe the best lineman we've seen this year," Hammons said. "He's big and can move, and he's probably a better defensive lineman than he is an offensive lineman."

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