It was a tale of two halves for the Mercer County (1-0) football team when they staged a furious second half comeback to defeat the Franklin County Flyers (1-0) by a final score of 35-25 on Saturday, Aug. 26, during the Rebel Bowl.
The Flyers struck first on a 61 yard touchdown reception by Tre Simmons to go up 7-0 three minutes into the game. Simmons also picked off senior quarterback Gunnar Gillis on Mercer’s second drive to set up the Flyers. Simmons led the Flyers with three touchdowns for the game (two receiving, one rushing). Gillis fumbled on Mercer’s next drive, which led to a Flyers rushing touchdown. Sophomore Bryson Yeast was able to block the extra point attempt to make the score 13-0 in favor of the Flyers.
The Titans’ next drive finally saw them put points on the board. On a trick play, senior Trevon Faulkner received the handoff from Gillis and threw across the field to senior Aaron Johnson for a 40 yard touchdown pass. The lead was cut to six midway through the second quarter. Mercer Head Coach David Buchanan talked about how special a player Faulkner is on both sides of the ball. “If you see someone crying at graduation, it’s going to be the football coach,” said Buchanan. “He is not only a special player on the field, but a great leader as well.”
It was looking like the Titans would only be down 13-7 heading into hafltime, but the Flyers scored on a 36 yard hook and ladder to end the half. They missed the extra point so the halftime score was 19-7 in favor of the Flyers. The second half seemed to promise more of the same, with the Flyers scoring on their first drive out of the half on a Simmons five yard rushing TD to extend the lead to 25-7.
Whatever was said at halftime worked, because the Titans looked like an entirely different team from their opening drive of the third quarter. “We just were not sharp starting out, at all,” said Buchanan. “I give Franklin County credit for that. I think they were more ready to play than we were. They got after us and they did a nice job.”
To learn more, check out this week’s issue of The Harrodsburg Herald.