Titans show improvement in 21-14 loss

Mercer County senior Malik Dow, right, chased down a Wayne County player Friday night.

Daarik Gray

Herald Staff

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It may not have been the outcome Mercer County wanted as they fell to Wayne County 21-14 Friday night, but it was a much better showing than in the previous four weeks for the Titans.

“There is no doubt in my mind that we continue to improve,” said Mercer County Head Coach David Buchanan. “We are really disappointed in this loss, but we’ve also got to see the big picture, without question we are improving.”

The Titans, who had been outscored 205-53 in their first four games combined, held a 7-6 halftime lead, but gave up 15 straight points in the second half to fall into a hole they couldn’t quite dig themselves out of.

Wayne County took an early lead in the first quarter, as they scored on their first possession of the game on a 20-yard run by German Ruiz. The ensuing extra point was missed.

Mercer County junior Donald ‘D’ Smith tied things up for the Titans with 9:51 left in the second quarter, as he showed off nifty footwork on his way to a 50-yard punt return for a touchdown. Kicker Brandon Ballard gave the Titans the 7-6 lead as he made the extra point, which is how things remained at halftime.

On the fourth play of the second half, Wayne County fumbled the ball at their own 44 yard line, which was recovered by Mercer County senior Christian Crawley, however the Titans were unable to convert on the good field position as quarterback Drew Davis’s pass was intercepted on the sixth play of the drive.

“We killed them (the Mercer County defense) by not finishing some drives, but I thought our defense played very good tonight,” said Buchanan.

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