Golden Eagles roll over West Central
The Mercer County Golden Eagles rolled over West Central, 38-7 Saturday, Sept. 11. The two teams entered the game undefeated at 2-0 but only Mercer County emerged unscathed.
Despite the victory Mercer County head coach wasn't happy with the play. "We've got too many guys walking around on the field. We have to improve on that or we aren't going to improve (as a team)."
The rejuvenated West Central Heat held the score close and trailed only 14-0 at the half. Mercer County scored 24 points in the second half though and pulled away for the win.
It would only take Mercer County one play to score. Tanner Matlick hooked up with Shaun Peterson for a 16-yard touchdown pass. With 10:07 remaining in the first quarter. Mercer County missed the extra point attempt.
Neither team could gain advantage until late in the second quarter -- Matlick through a 45-yard touchdown pass to a wide open Austin Skiles.
Skiles converted the two-point run and the Golden Eagles led 14-0.
West Central put together a drive on its next possession. Heat quarterback Dylan Bell connected with Shane Cavanaugh on a 28-yard pass to the Mercer County 33-yard line. The Heat pushed the ball to the Mercer County 20-yard line. But on a first down and 10 play Bell threw an ill-advised pass that Golden Eagle Austin Skiles came down with at the 10-yard line to stop the drive.
"I owe that one to the defensive line and the linebackers," said Skiles. Skiles was actually out of position before Bell threw the pass. "He just threw it back my way."
Mercer County's Michael McClellan picked up 62 yards on a run down to the West Central one-yard line. "The offensive line just opened up this wide hole for me and I just ran hard as far as I could."
It seemed like Mercer County was destined to score but Bell recovered a Mercer County fumble in the endzone to end the Golden Eagle drive.
Three plays later West Central's Toby Krow rumbled 59 yards to the Mercer County endzone. The extra point cut the Golden Eagle lead to 14-7. Krow was a thorn in the side of the Golden Eagles all day as he rushed for 123 yards on 17 carries.
"We gave them a window and they handed to us a little," said Zunkel. "We were not ready in the second and third quarter. We need to do a better job of getting ourselves ready."
A personal foul on the next drive put the Golden Eagles at its own 13-yard line. Mercer County's main ground threat, Austin Skiles, went to the sideline with a cramp. Matlick connected with Peterson for a 23-yard gain. Morford was in as a replacement for Austin Skiles who had troubles with cramping during the game. Morford caught a seven-yard pass from Matlick to the Heat's 24-yard line. McClellan took it in from there on a 24-yard touchdown run to complete the eight-play 87-yard drive. Matlick connected with Benson for the conversion and Mercer County led 22-7 with one minute remaining in the third quarter.
Golden Eagle Caleb Kin came up with the sack on the next drive to stop West Central.
"Defensively we wanted to stop their quarterback and their fullback," said McClellan, "and the rest would fall into place."
It took Mercer County two offensive plays to score again as McClellan ran for 15 yards on the first play and Skiles finished the drive off on a 25-yard touchdown run. McClellan completed the conversion run and Mercer County led 30-7 with 10:41 remaining in the game.
A little more than a minute later Mercer County had the ball back and scored again on a 30-yard run by Austin Skiles. McClellan completed the conversion run and Mercer County led 38-7.
"The line stepped it up. With Michael running as hard as he does it opened up some holes for me as well," said Skiles.
McClellan finished with 133 yard rushing while Skiles had 157 yards on the ground.
Zunkel said, "This is a better team (West Central) than it looked on film."
Mercer County will host rival United (2-1) at 7 p.m. Sept. 17.