Jaguars battle Mercer County Friday night
By MIKE MARSEE
East Jessamine dug in and tried to dig its way out in the second half Friday night, but the hole proved too deep.
The Jaguars battled back after Mercer County took a three-touchdown lead in the third quarter, only to fall 29-22 in their district opener.
Host East (2-5, 0-1 District 4A-5) had won its regular-season meeting with Mercer (3-4, 2-0) in each of the past two years but has lost the last two games in the series – beginning with a second-round playoff game last season – on its home field.
The Jaguars trailed 29-6 after the Titans scored on their first possession of the second half, but they came to life with a 16-play, 80-yard scoring drive capped by a 1-yard touchdown run by Taveon Dean on the first play of the fourth quarter.
They got the ball back two minutes later when Valdon Miles stripped it from Mercer’s Bryson Yeast, recovered the fumble and returned it 16 yards to the Mercer 48-yard line. East drove to the Mercer 10 before Cameron Garrett was intercepted at the goal line in what was the Jaguars’ only turnover.
The defense kept the Jaguars alive, stopping the Titans deep in their own territory. Mercer chose to take a safety rather than punt the ball out of its own end zone, making it 29-16 with 2:13 remaining.
East returned the free kick to the Mercer 34 and scored on the very next play on a pass from Garrett to Isaiah Williams. After an onside kick attempt failed, Mercer got the one first down it needed to run out the clock.
Forced to abandon the running game that had produced three-fourths of their offensive yardage in their first six games, the Jaguars found success with the pass as they threw for 136 of their 224 yards, Garrett was 12-for-19, Jaylen Taylor had five catches and Miles had three.
Miles gave East its first score with a 35-yard touchdown run in the first quarter.
See more in the next edition of The Jessamine Journal, published Oct. 4.