Mercer County rips West Jessamine, 40-8
Published 12:05 am Saturday, October 7, 2017
By BRIAN RICKERD
NICHOLASVILLE — Mercer County football coach David Buchanan said his Titans have battled injury and illness the first seven weeks of the season, leaving him wondering just what he had going into Friday night’s district game against the West Jessamine Colts.
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What Buchanan apparently has is a heckuva a football team, evidenced by a 40-8 shellacking of West Jessamine.
The Titans scored early and often in improving to 5-3 overall and 2-1 in district heading into a home district test vs. Taylor County next week.
“I was just telling the kids I feel like I’ve found a long lost friend,” Buchanan said. “We’ve just had a lot of injuries and illness to deal with, so it’s taken us a long time to jell as a team. But this is by far the best we have played. I’m really proud of the kids. I finally recognize this football team.”
Senior quarterback Gunnar Gillis led the Titans’ balanced and potent offense, tossing three touchdown passes, covering 33- and 26-yards to senior wide receiver Aaron Johnson, and 8-yards to senior Trevon Faulkner. Those three scores accounted for all the Mercer points during a first-half that finished with the Titans on top, 21-0.
Senior running back Jackson Lewis ran for a 4-yard TD early in the second half that upped the margin to 28-0.
Sophomore Malachi Yulee added a four-yard scoring run later in the second half and Jackson intercepted a late pass from West Jessamine senior quarterback Jacob Humes and raced 65 yards for the visitor’s final tally.
The Colts avoided a shutout thanks to a 1-yard plunge by running back Allen Horne with 10:36 left in the game.
Lewis led the Titans’ potent ground attack with some 125 yards on 12 carries.
“We knew coming in that we didn’t match up with their skill kids,” West Jessamine coach John Gilliam said after his Colts fell to 5-3 and 1-2. “They have some very talented skill kids, and all of them have so much speed. Our game plan was to hold the ball and run the clock as much as we can, but it just didn’t work out for us.”
Buchanan suggested he was most proud of a defensive unit that has not been a strong point up to this game, but largely kept the Colts in check.
“I was really happy with our run defense,” Buchanan said. “That’s what really made this game good. It’s taken a lot of work and time, but finally our run defense played the way we wanted to play.”
“We just came out and executed,” said Faulkner, who Buchanan calls “the best free safety in the state.”
“We were doing what we are taught, and you saw the outcome,” Faulkner added. “We played hard and we executed.”