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Friday Night Lights Are Back: Titans Football Kicks Off New Season

The Harrodsburg Herald/David Carpenter
The 2023 Mercer County Senior High School football team is coached by Head Coach Craig Yeast and assistants Tyrek Bradshaw, Matthew Dawahare, Isaiah Burrus, Mike Johnson, Tony Mccombs, Tyler McFarland, Richard Reilly, Tyus Short, Brian Sims and Donald Smith. Team members are: Kelton Wethington, Matthew Pickett, Gage Bennett, Cameron Bottoms, Brayden McGuffy, Shemmy Brigmon, Daniel Butler, David Nash, Elijah Norton, Michael Cox, Hayden Patton, Ashton Dawahare, Ashton Pusey, Gavin Rodriquez, Rennan Doan, Myron Russell, Ashton Drakeford, Jayden Sailor, Bryson Garcia, Cohen Sanford, Landon Gonzalez, Jacob Sanford, Juhon Goodman, Tyler Savage, Brady Semrau, Emmanuel Herewehe-Lewis, Jeremiah Smith, Samuel Horn, Andrew Sparrow, Westin Irvin, Kyle Taylor, Cody Turner,Cornelius Mapp, Connor Ward and our senior class Malachi Davis, Aiden McKinney, Owen Barnes, Thaddeus Mays, Kingston Mays, Mason Kirkland, Caden Semrau, Myles Haygood, Denim Griffieth, Donavan Wright, Jackson Perry and Byron Collier. Team managers are Laci McGinnis, Tamya Haygood, Kenzie Wright, Alyssa Pittman, Gracen Reynolds, Julias Toller, Skylar Stratton, Peyton Woods, Kadence Bottoms and Ashley Stewart.

Sam Warren
Herald Staff

Titan football’s schedule in 2023 features only two matchups against teams they faced last fall. Following another district realigmnent, Mercer will face Casey, Marion and Garrard Counties for the foreseeable future.

The Titans showed glimpses of excellence in 2022, taking down local rivals Anderson County 49-17 in week three, defeating Danville 17-14 the following week and thrashing West Jessamine 63-13 to end the regular season.

Since 2015, Titan fans have grown accustomed to traveling to Boyle County in week two to take part in the Rebel Bowl, but now Mercer football will feature in the Vallozzi Bowl with Woodford County, which will also replace Boyle in the Little Caesars Fort Harrod Bowl festivities. Coach Dennis Johnson will lead the Yellow Jackets onto Alvis Johnson field to face the defending Class 6-A state champions Bullit East, at 5 p.m, on Aug. .19. Shortly after, Mercer will kick off their season with a match up against former distiict rivals Taylor County, who finished 6-5 in 2022, and are lead by one of Kentucky’s highest ranked prospects according to 247 and Rivals, University of Kentucky com­mitment Hayes Johnson.

Head Coach Craig Yeast is entering his second season in charge of Mercer County football and he believes the Titans have the talent to improve upon their 5-6 record in 2022, they just need to work harder for it.

“Being a more disciplined and hardworking team. We struggled with mental and physical toughness. We used the off season to build our overall mind set towards win­ning,” said Yeast.

The Titans typically lined up in shotgun last fall with senior play maker Thaddeus Mays taking the snaps. Mays and senior running back Denim Griffieth combined for I ,747 yards and 18 touch­downs on the ground in 2022. Senior Malachi Davis will also caITy the ball frequently this season.

Regardless of who is car­rying the ball, Yeast believes the offensive line are the big­gest detenniners of how far this offense can go.

“I expect our O-line to have the biggest impact on our offensive success. We should be decent in our skill, but everything starts up front for us. We have nine varsity offensive lineman who we feel comfortable put­ting out on the field. Fans should expect a group who plays hard and with great effo1t,” said Yeast.

The line is lead this year by fifth year senior Byron Collier, and as someone who is getting to replay his senior year, he can appreciate the affect good leadership has on a team.

“I’ve got to be a bigger leader this year than I even was last year. I feel like that is something we struggled with last year-leaders on ow· team,” said Collier.

The offensive guard will also help the Titans on the defensive line in 2023, but his focus is opening holes for the ball carrier.

For the rest of the story, check out this week’s edition of the Harrodsburg Herald. Click here to subscribe.

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