MERCER – If you blinked, you missed it.
Sharpsville scored three goals in the first seven minutes of play and eventually scored a 46-0 win over Mercer in Region 1 action to spoil the Senior Night celebrations in the county seat on Saturday night.
“Look, you can’t relax in games like this when that happens,” said Mercer manager Jeff Lockard. “You just can’t. I don’t know what else to say about it (the beginning). Will we keep fighting? Hell yeah we are! That’s one thing we’re doing pretty well here in Mercer. We’re going to clean up a few things for Wilmington and see the chips fall. “
Class 1A (2-4, 3-4) Mercer got a healthy dose of Chris Roth, Ian Smith and Zack Tedrow on the Devils ‘first drive before Roth took him from a meter for an early 8-0 lead to Tedrows’ Two-point conversion.
After 3A Sharpsville (3-2, 5-3) forced a punt on the Mustangs’ first offensive possession, the snap sailed over the head of player Troy Bachman and into the end zone, but Bachman was in the end zone for a 10-0 Blue Devils attacked led only 6:03 in the competition.
Less than a minute later, the Devils effectively put the game away with an eight-yard touchdown carry from Smith.
“At the beginning of the game I said we couldn’t make mistakes and we made one straight away,” said Lockard. “This is our reserve long snapper, but you can’t do it against good teams. You will lose and you will lose badly! “
Caullin Summers and Garen Levis joined in with consecutive six-yard touchdowns to break 34-0, while Roth’s one-yard burst in the third quarter put the grace rule at 8:28 in the third quarter.
Colby Johnson completed scoring for the Blue Devils with a quarterback sneaker after another misdirected Mercer punt snapshot took place in the middle of the fourth quarter.
“No excuses, they just hit us,” Lockard said. “I would have liked to let four or five of my boys play tonight, but in the long term I think we can get out of here healthy. That is topic number one. Problem number two is that we have another tough problem next week (against Wilmington) so let’s prepare for it.
“You have to fight your way through adversity and that is life. At some point in your life, no matter what, you will face adversity. It’s about how you get out of this adversity that makes you a better person and how people judge you. “
With five starters, Mercer struggled to get something going offensively and ended up with just seven yards overall offensive. Sharpsville kept the Mustangs at minus 25 yards.
“We were awful,” said Lockard. “It shows you in smaller programs that taking two guys off the offensive makes a difference. Nothing against my younger boys because they rose and did their best. It’s just something to deal with with smaller schools and only attracts 28 because of injuries and the like.
Despite the difficult loss, Lockard tries hard to keep his players focused on the bigger picture – a potential District 10 Class 1A playoff spot.
The D10 Class A tournament is scheduled to begin on either October 29th or October 30th and will consist of a maximum of eight teams.
“I think we’re in the District 10 playoffs, so for me there is a lot of game management stuff that needs to happen,” said Lockard. “We have to get well because the big picture is coming in a couple of weeks. I want to be ready for that.
“The bottom line is that we as a team have to take the positive out of playing these teams (permanent District 10 powers Sharpsville, Farrell, Wilmington, etc.) and get better ourselves. That’s the only way we can look at it. We have to move up and play at their level. We’re not there yet, but we’re taking steps to get there. As stupid as it sounds, I think it will help us to play against two of the better teams in the region. I really. We’re not going to see Sharpsville or Wilmington in the Class A playoffs, so I have to let that flow into the guys. “
Before the game, Mercer honored his senior class of 14.
“It’s a great group of kids from top to bottom,” said Lockard. “You have been with me through some bad times all along. They never gave up and they never gave up. That shows what kind of people this group of seniors are. “
NOTES: Mercer was led by Jake Badgers for nine carries for 23 yards and Logan Turton’s three receptions for 23 yards. … Sharpsville played without placekicker Liam Campbell, who converted 16 of 19 extra points and 1 of 4 field goals in the season and was forced to try two-point conversions after every touchdown. … The Devils improved to 14-6 all time at Mercer. … Roth led Sharpsville with a 15-carry, 75-yard, two-touchdown effort, while Summers made 8-of-14 passes for 139 yards. Levis made four passes for 59 yards and Zack Tedrow – who had three two-point conversions – had two grabs for 74 yards.
SHARPSVILLE 26 8 6 6 46
MERCER 0 0 0 0 0
S – Roth, 1-yard run (Tedrow run)
S – security
S – Smith, 8 yard run (Tedrow Pass by C. Summers)
S – Levis, 6 yard pass by C. Summers (Tedrow pass by Summers)
S – Levis, 6 Yard Pass by C. Summers (Summer Run)
S – Roth, 1-yard run (run failed)
S – Johnson, 1 yard run (run failed)
17 FIRST DOWN 4
191 RUSH YARDS -25
139 PASS YARDS 32
330 TOTAL YARDS 7
14-8-1 ATT-COM-INT 14-4-0
2-1 FUMBLES-LOST 2-1
3-20 PENALTIES 4-30
RUSHING – SHARPSVILLE: Roth 15-75, Smith 6-30, Heyward 5-22, C. Summers 2-22, Tedrow 3-18, B. Summers 6-17, White 1-6, Johnson 1-1; MERCER: Badger 9-23, Hall 5-8, Turton 3 – (- 2), Snyder 1 – (- 3), Wiley 4 – (- 8).
Passing by – SHARPSVILLE: C. Summer 8-14-1 139; MERCER: Wiley 4-14-0 32.
RECEIVING – SHARPSVILLE: Levis 4-59, Tedrow 2-76, Smith 2-4; MERCER: Turton 3-23, Ferguson 1-9.