It’s always tough to lose an important district game, especially this late in the season. What better way to come back from that loss than to dominate your next opponent? That’s exactly what the Mercer County Titans football team (4-3) did against their district rivals, the West Jessamine Colts (5-2), defeating them by a final score of 40-8 on Friday, Oct. 6.
This was arguably Mercer’s most complete game of the season as they made plays on both sides of the ball when it mattered the most.
The Titans scored right off the bat on their first possession on a 33 yard touchdown pass to senior wide receiver Aaron Johnson from senior quarterback Gunnar Gillis. Johnson led the Titans with 80 receiving yards and 3 total touchdowns on the night.
Gillis only completed six passes on 14 throws, but three of those completions went for scores.
On the Colt’s first drive, junior linebacker Nathan Tatum was able to recover a fumble and set up the Titans on their own 32 yard line. The Titans ended up punting on the drive, but were able to stop West and force a turnover on downs.
The Titans punted again, but their defense came up big on the next West possession. Sophomore defensive end Darrian Baker had two huge hits on third and fourth down, forcing another turnover on downs. The Titans would get great field position after forcing the turnover, starting their next drive at midfield.
Senior running back Jackson Lewis had a couple impressive runs on the drive to set up the Titans in the red zone. This is the point in the field where it is a luxury to have receivers like Faulkner and Johnson, who are capable of jumping up and making spectacular catches. This time, it was Faulkner’s turn. He hauled in a 6 yard touchdown pass from Gillis and the Titans were up 14-0 after senior kicker Caleb Morrison made the extra point.
The Titans forced a punt on the next Colt possession, but turned it over on downs to give it right back. Luckily, Mercer’s defense was there to answer the call. Lewis came up big on the next possession, intercepting a pass from West quarterback, Jacob Humes, taking it to the West 26, setting the Titans up with great field position to score before the half with 15 seconds left. They capitalized on the opportunity and Johnson hauled in his second touchdown pass of the night, this one a 26 yard pass from Gillis. The Titans held on to a 21-0 lead at the half.
Titans Head Coach David Buchanan was happy with the way his team put together a complete game.
“I feel like I have been looking for this team for eight weeks now and we finally found them,” he said. “I was relieved to finally play like I thought we could play. First half of this game was the best football we’ve played all season.”
To learn more, check out this week’s issue of The Harrodsburg Herald.