Mercer County football preps for road test

Published 7:39 pm Wednesday, November 7, 2018

Mercer County football can make its third-straight appearance in the regional finals Friday night.

To do that, the Titans will have to win three critical areas.

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“We’ve got to win turnovers, special teams and big plays,” head coach David Buchanan said. “If we win those three things, we’ll win the ball game.

“The thing this week, they’re very explosive. That makes all those even more critical. They’ve got great big-play capability. We’ve got to line up right, read our keys and get there. We’ve got to get to the ball.”

Moore shut out West Jessamine 41-0 in its first-round playoff game last week.

Quarterback Rae Von Vaden completed just seven throws but had five touchdown passes and 297 yards through the air.

“(Moore has) a lot of guys that can run,” Buchanan said. “They’re a very talented team.”

Mercer County beat West 36-22 earlier in the year, thanks to a physical run game: The team finished with 38 carries for 390 yards and four touchdowns, led by Bryson Yeast’s nine carries for 185 yards and two scores.

Buchanan said it’ll take a similar physicality to beat Moore.

“I hope that we’re starting to play a more physical brand of football,” he said. “I think we’ve shown flashes of it the last three or four weeks, that’s what I hope will happen.”

The Titans have won two playoff games in back-to-back seasons, winning in round two on the road each time. Last year Mercer beat East Jessamine 46-21, and in 2016 the Titans went to Rockcastle County and won 31-30 in overtime.

“We’ve been real pleased with practice this week,” Buchanan said. “Really nothing’s different, we’re just trying to get better every day. We know that this time of year, the team across from us is going to be good. We have to be ready to go. That’s where we are.”

Buchanan said he likes what he’s seen from his players in the trenches — helping that run game to 278 yards and six touchdowns last week against Breckinridge County — and the Titans will need that this week.

“Our offensive line and our backs are really getting after it and our defensive front is playing real physical,” Buchanan said. “I think it’s across the board, I like our whole line. Kaelin (Drakeford) is getting us in the right place and our wide receivers are blocking, also.”

Mercer will play at Moore at 8 p.m. on Friday.