Mercer stays perfect in route of winless Ads
Published 3:23 pm Monday, September 11, 2023
By DAEJAH BARTLESON
Mercer County is on a streak the likes of which its coach couldn’t recall, while Danville is on a streak it would like to get rid of.
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Mercer is off to a 4-0 start for the first time since its state championship season following a 48-10 win Friday night at Admiral Stadium.
Denim Griffieth rushed for three touchdowns and the Titans locked down Danville’s offense in the first half to secure their biggest victory ever over the Admirals.
Mercer coach Craig Yeast couldn’t remember the last time the Titans had gotten off to such a good start, but he knew it had been a while.
“I’m just really proud of our players for doing this for the first time in – well, I don’t know how long. They did good,” Yeast said.
It hasn’t happened since 2006, when the Titans won all 15 of their games and captured the Class 2A championship in the first season following Mercer’s merger with Harrodsburg.
Meanwhile, Danville’s streak continues as well as the losses stack up. The Admirals fell to 0-4.
Still, Mercer made itself at home on Danville’s homecoming, beating the Admirals for only the third time in 16 meetings between the teams.
The Titans got off to a flying start, driving 56 yards on nine plays to score three minutes into the game on a 5-yard run by Thaddeus Mays.
Barely two minutes later, Ashton Drakeford returned a punt 45 yards to the end zone for Mercer’s first punt return touchdown in two years.
After stopping Danville on downs, the Titans faced second-and-27 but erased that in two plays, after which Mays threw to Cameron Bottoms for a 16-yard TD that made it 20-0.
Griffieth, who led Mercer with 85 rushing yards on nine carries, scored on runs of 2, 22 and 3 yards in the second quarter to give the Titans a 41-0 halftime lead.
Danville was plagued by negative yardage plays during the first half, and they had only 18 total yards at halftime compared to 197 for Mercer.
The Titans outgained the Admirals 246 yards to 87 overall, with 12 more first downs and 135 more rushing yards.
Danville got two first downs on its first series of the second half before turning the ball over on downs. Mercer capitalized once more, as Cornelius Mapp ran 18 yards to the Danville 2-yard line and Malachi Davis went in from there for the touchdown.
The Admirals put some points on the board in the fourth quarter with special teams play. Kaleb Wilcher booted a 52-yard punt that was fumbled by Mercer. Danville recovered it at the Mercer 10 but was stopped, and Wilcher kicked a 27-yard field goal.
The Admirals then recovered an onside kick by Wilcher, and Enrique Gutierrez-Jacobs threw a pass to Sasha Wade that was caught on the 5-yard line, then threw a 5-yard pass to Jayden Tandy for a touchdown on the final play of the game.
Gutierrez-Jacobs completed seven of 15 passes for 53 yards, Braidin Baughman rushed for 45 yards on 15 attempts and Demontrae Trumbo had two receptions for 14 yards.
Mays went 6 for 7 for 77 passing yards for Mercer, and he ran for another 52 yards. Perry had three receptions for 54 yards, and Drakeford had three catches for 48 yards.
Danville will play its first road game of the season this Friday at Knox Central (2-2).
Mercer County 48, Danville 10
Danville 0-0-0-10 – 10
Mercer County 20-21-7-0 – 48
MC – Thaddeus Mays 5 run (kick failed), 8:43
MC – Ashton Drakeford 45 punt return (Liam Potts kick), 6:29
MC – Cameron Bottoms 16 pass from Mays (Potts kick), :06
MC – Denim Griffieth 2 run (Potts kick), 11:48
MC – Griffieth 22 run (Potts kick), 8:14
MC – Griffieth 3 run (Potts kick), 2:14
MC – Malachi Davis 2 run (Brady Semrau kick), :30
DHS – FG Kaleb Wilcher 27, 2:09
DHS – Jayden Tandy 5 pass from Enrique Gutierrez-Jacobs (Wilcher kick), :00