Rebels march past Mercer, 56-14

Published 12:17 am Saturday, October 28, 2017

HARRODSBURG — Boyle County and Mercer County got their final tune-up before the postseason on Friday.

The Rebels came out on top 56-14 after a dominant performance on the ground against Mercer.

Boyle outgained Mercer 416 to four in yards gained on the ground, scoring six rushing touchdowns on the way.

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“They were very, very good up front,” Mercer County head coach David Buchanan said. “They’re very well coached and they’ve got a nice ball club. I think they showed that again tonight.”

Boyle didn’t need a punt the entire game. Landen Bartleson scored the first three Boyle touchdowns of the night, all from inside 10 yards.

Despite Boyle’s hot start, Mercer was ready as well: Gunnar Gillis and Trevon Faulkner linked up for a 51-yard pass on the Titans second possession and Jackson Lewis scored from seven yards away to even the score 7-7.

“I didn’t think we played particularly well,” Boyle County coach Chuck Smith said. “I think that what we didn’t have was that fire. That bothers me a little bit. But we scored enough points to win, we got some guys some rest. Hats off to Mercer, they really got after us early. David Buchanan does a great job of scheming and he got us off balance, put us in situations that we don’t like to be in and really tested our defense early. We did get better and I think we got better because of going against David’s scheme.”

After one quarter, Boyle led 21-7.

The first score of the second quarter was a career first: Boyle faked a run left, and right tackle Will Bramel caught a lateral from quarterback Reed Lanter and rumbled into the end zone from seven yards away.

It was Bramel’s first career touchdown.

“He rolled over that guy, I was pretty impressed, I thought he was going to get tackled,” coach Smith said. “But he lowered that shoulder and got into the end zone.”

Tanner Crawford scored his first touchdown to put Boyle ahead 35-7 in the middle of the second quarter.

Mercer’s next drive was extended after a nice fake punt from Gillis, who threw a 20-yard first down to Lewis. Moments later, Faulkner caught a 39-yard touchdown pass to make the score 35-14 with 3:31 left in the first half.

“We knew we had to be creative offensively to try to get something going,” Buchanan said. “That’s where the open week helped us, we got to tweak some things and I thought it really did help us.”

Lanter would hit Nick Walker for a 20-yard touchdown before halftime, putting the Rebels ahead 42-14.

The Titans had just two rushing yards at halftime but Gillis was 12-for-24 with 175 yards through the air.

“I think that (Mercer) did a nice job of playing,” coach Smith said. “They came out of the blocks fast and I don’t think our team was expecting that, to be honest with you. After we settled down we played better. But they’ve got some good players and those players played pretty hard tonight.”

In the second half, Gillis was 0-for-8.

Buchanan said that he didn’t like the way his team came out after halftime, but said he still liked where his team was compared to after a loss against Taylor County.

“The thing that I’m pleased with, I’m not happy losing a ball game but we’re definitely better than we were two weeks ago,” Buchanan said. That part I’m happy with. I’d feel a lot better if we had competed more in the second half than we did. But we did compete in the first half well, we did some good things. We’ve just got to keep working and keep hustling.

“We’re going to have to fire our best shot next week. They’ve got a good team and we’ve got to be ready to go.”

Boyle continued to pound the rock in the second half, with Crawford scoring his second just three plays into the second half. He scored a two-point conversion to start a running clock.

Harrison Mesplay would kick two field goals to finish the scoring at 56-14.

“Hopefully this will give us a little bit of momentum moving into the playoffs, and the same for Mercer. Because they did play well,” Smith said.