Mercer County Head Football Coach David Buchanan has been impressed with the way his defense has played for most of the season. Friday night was no different, as the Titans downed the visiting Taylor County Cardinals 42-12 to win district for the first time since 2008.
The Titan defense gave up only 138 yards. Fifty-six yards came on the Cardinals’ final drive of the game, when the Titans had taken most of their starters out.
“Our defense has played really great in district. They continue to play well and I am proud of them,” said Buchanan.
Although the Titans dominated most of the game, it was the Cardinals who came out of the gate looking like they might have been the better team.
Senior Charles Johnson took the opening kickoff 92-yards to put Taylor County up 6-0. The Titans responded almost immediately and never looked back.
On their first possession of the game, Mercer County drove 51-yards on just eight plays, tying the game on a 5-yard run by Donald ‘D’ Smith with 8:32 left in the first quarter. Brandon Ballard’s extra point gave them the lead.
“I thought we responded great to that opening touchdown,” said Buchanan.
On Taylor County’s next offensive play, Mercer County junior Jerrard Smith forced a fumble, which was picked up by fellow junior Austin Logdon, who returned it 32 yards for a touchdown with 8:17 left in the opening quarter. After Ballard’s extra point the Titans led 14-6.
Smith ran in his second touchdown of the first quarter from 15-yards out with 3:53 left in the quarter to give the Titans a 21-6 lead, which is how it remained after the first quarter.
Taylor County looked like they were going to close the gap midway through the second quarter as they drove to the Mercer County 4-yard line, however the Titans defense held strong, not allowing them any points.
“That was huge,” said Buchanan.
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