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Titans cruise in regular season finale, blank GRC

By Casey Castle

Winchester Sun

WINCHESTER  With the George Rogers Clark football team in the red zone and threatening to cut their lead in half, Mercer County got a big play from senior Grayson Blevins.

Blevins slipped in front a pass just inside the end zone and returned it 70 yards. Two plays later, the Titans had scored again and were up 21-0. Mercer never looked back, winning easily, 43-0.

“It was a huge play,” Mercer coach David Buchanan said. “To that is the play of the game, because without it, it’s 14-7 instead of 21-0.”

“Obviously, that’s a play I’d like to have back, but I think more than anything, it was their kid making a great play,” GRC coach Mike Riddle said. “We had a curl route and he just undercut it at the last second. It wasn’t necessarily a bad read. He just made a great play.”

The Titans (6-4) used the big play all night to bury the Cardinals (1-9), who have struggled defensively as the season has gone on.

Dustin Baker kicked off the scoring with a 46-yard touchdown run. Gunnar Gillis made it 14-0 before the end of the first quarter with a 4-yard touchdown run.

After the Cardinals looked to be back in the game with a pass-heavy drive in the second quarter, Blevins intercepted the Pearce Nisbet pass and took it to the GRC 30. A 29-yard run by Gillis set up Baker’s 1-yard score.

D Smith had a 49-yard rush then a 14-yard rush to score on a two-play drive with 3:40 left to play in the half in his return from an ankle injury.

Blevins got in on the action on the offensive side of the ball when he scored on a 50-yard screen play. Baker ran in a two-point conversion and the Titans led 36-0 with 2:14 remaining in the half.

Tanner Robins returned a put in the third quarter 68 yards for a touchdown, which proved to be the game’s final score.

For Buchanan, it was all a sight for sore eyes.

“I recognized that football team,” he said. “I have just really sort of been scratching my head over what has been going on with us. But all along, I’ve had really good kids and really good coaches. I felt like we had this in us. Tonight, we played like I know we could.”

The Titans go into the start of the playoffs next week on a positive note. Mercer is set to take on Knox Central at home in the Class 4A playoffs.

“Knox Central is very good,” Buchanan said. “We are going to have to have a very focused game plan. We will have to choose our bullets wisely.”

The Cardinals will travel to Simon Kenton.

“The only thing we can do is just refocus,” Riddle said. “I’m just interested in who wants to play, who wants to give the effort, who wants to practice hard, who does it mean something to.”