"If they'd done that earlier, they might have a chance to be undefeated right now. It definitely helped their offense a lot."
Casey coach Andy Stephens agreed, and he said Patterson will remain the Rebels' quarterback for the foreseeable future, lining up with running backs Ricky Marrapodi and Brad Baldock.
"It makes us more explosive on offense and gives us another threat," Stephens said. "Brad and Ricky are both good tailbacks, and Marcus gives us another element."
Patterson, Marrapodi and Baldock each ran for just over 100 yards last week in Casey's win over Taylor County.
Meanwhile, Mercer's offense took on a different look last week as well, as quarterback Justin Morgan completed a season-high nine passes for 136 yards in the Scotties' win over Anderson County.
"We proved to people we can throw the football," Jaggers said. "We'd practiced it, but we hadn't shown it as much. If people try to gang up on us and stop the run, they're going to give up big plays."
But Stephens said he's sure the Scotties will still be a run-first team.
"We're mainly going to focus on the run," the Casey coach said.
Casey must handle Mercer's size
Stephens said that means trying to do something with Mercer's super-sized offensive line, which he said will tower over Casey's defensive linemen.
"My 'D' line probably averages 200 pounds at best, and their 'O' line probably averages close to 300 pounds," he said. "You can't simulate that at all in practice. The toughest thing for us is how to handle that size."
Stephens said he wants to free Casey's linebackers up to make plays, and he said he also has a few new things he wants to try to keep Mercer from running roughshod over the Rebels. "We're going to do some different things," he said.
Mercer will have running back Donald Walker back at 100 percent this week - Jaggers said the Scotties threw more against Anderson in part because Walker wasn't at full strength - and 6-9 Bill Davis returns to the line after a one-game suspension following his ejection a week earlier.
Stephens said the only absence for Casey will be outside linebacker Scotty Wright, who will sit out the first half for a violation of a team rule.
Mercer has won 14 of 16 meetings with Casey, but the two teams haven't played since 1996, when both teams were in the same Class AA district for a two-year period.
Jaggers would like to see Mercer in Casey's district
Jaggers said he'd like for them to be in the same district again when the next realignment takes effect in 2007.
Casey is in a district that includes Garrard County, another of Mercer's former district rivals, but only has four teams, meaning all four automatically qualify for the playoffs.
Meanwhile, Mercer's closest district opponent is over 50 miles away, and two of its district foes are over 100 miles away in northern Kentucky.
"We're going to try, the next time it comes up, to get in that district," Jaggers said. "It makes sense for us, and with the price of gas, it makes even more sense."
Stephens said he wouldn't mind seeing another area school in Casey's district, which also includes Corbin and Wayne County.
"It's a more natural fit than really even Corbin or Wayne," he said. "That's something I thought should've been done a long time ago."