Eagles travel to Kankakee Saturday for 3A football playoff game
The Mercer County Golden Eagles win Friday, Oct. 23, over the United Red Storm may have not been a huge upset, but the 27-0 margin was surprising.
The Golden Eagles open 3A playoff action at 2 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 31, at Kankakee Bishop McNamara.
With sophomore running back Quinton King leading the way Friday, the Eagles drove from their own 35 to a fourth and goal on the United 7 on the first series of the game. After the Red Storm defense stopped the Eagles, Mercer County recovered a United fumble on the Storm's first offensive play. King scored the first of his four touchdowns on a run from the 6 with 7:36 left in the first quarter and the Eagles were off to the races.
King ended up the game with about 240 yards rushing. His improvement over the course of the season has set the tone for the young Mercer County team.
Asked about the team's maturation, Coach Nat Zunkel said it's been apparent over the final three regular season games, all Mercer County wins.
"Maturation, understanding what it takes to play the game of football at the varsity level," Zunkel said of the team's improvement.
At 5-4, Mercer County played one of the toughest schedules of any area team. Seven of the Eagles nine opponents made it to the playoffs. Zunkel said Bishop McNamara will present quite a challenge.
"They're very talented," he said. "They have a very big offensive line. … We'll have to play our best to win."
Zunkel said the Fighting Irish of the Chicago Catholic League have two fine running backs and a big quarterback. Bishop McNamara finished the season at 8-1, 3-1 in conference play.
It is about 191 miles from Aledo to Kankakee.