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It probably won't be one of those knock-down, drag-out district grudge matches that Anderson County and Mercer County football fans got used to in the 1980s and 90s, nor will it carry the same passion as some of those old Anderson County-Harrodsburg dogfights of the 50s, 60s, and early 70s.
But that does not mean the juices won't be flowing when Anderson and Mercer tangle on the football field Friday night at Mercer.
Anderson won this one last year, 42-21, but Mercer showed some big play capabilty and has some of that speed back.
“Dexter Banks and Isiah Burrus are both back,” Anderson coach Mark Peach says. “No. 44 if healthy, is the best running back we may see all year in James Johnson.”
Johnson went down against Lafayette after gaining 19 yards in a 27-13 loss last Friday, but backup Zach Bossell came in “and didn't miss a beat,” according to Peach.
Bossell netted 74 yards in 20 carries.
Quarterback Alex Guay is “quite a threat running and passing the ball,” Peach says.
A year ago, Mercer continued to struggle and ended up going 1-10. The Titans have already doubled that win total with victories over LaRue County and Dunbar in the first two weeks before the loss to Lafayette.
“Lafayette never did stop the offense,” Peach said. “It was a matter of turnovers.”
The Titans had two fumbles and gave up two interceptions against Lafayette. “We will have to play good team defense like we did last year. Their team speed is tremendous,” Peach says.
Anderson will be taking the field after a two-week layoff. The Bearcats last played on Aug. 27, dropping a 28-21 decision to a very good Meade County team. He says it is important that the Bearcats put that game behind them and focus on the rivalry Friday night.
“The next game is the most important and this is the next game. This is another great non-district challenge for us on the road,” Peach said.
E-mail John Herndon at email@example.com.