October 26th, 2019

DeSales Wins District Title


Ed Peak

Staff Writer

DeSales Wins District Title
DeSales defeats Mercer County/ photo by Ed Peak

HARRODSBURG, Ky. -- Don't tell James Johnson he was a one man crew Friday night. He won't take credit. He prefers to praise teammates for the heroics. Johnson had 28 carries for 237 yards and three touchdowns as DeSales rallied for a 39-23 win over host Mercer County on a rain soaked night at Alvis Johnson Field.

"The offensive line did a great job blocking," said Johnson. "Everybody on the line did what they needed do. The whole o-line. Cameron Beecham, Colby Stratman...all of them."


DeSales (7-2, 4-0) ranked third in Class 3-A by the Associated Press won only its second district title in eight seasons under coach Harold Davis. The victory, DeSales' sixth in a row, earns the top seeded Colts two home playoff games and a game November 8 against fourth seed Western Hills, a team DeSales beat 48-13, last week.


"I couldn't be more of them," said DeSales coach Harold Davis. "I'm really happy. You have goals. This is the first one. We wanted this one. You check one off the box."


The turning point in the game might have come just before halftime. Mercer County leading 14-12 intercepted a Jayden Scroggins pass by Dillon Warren at the Titans 25. Mercer County drove to the Colts 16 yard line. On fourth down the Titans Noah Davis kicked a 33 yard field goal with two seconds left in the half for a five point lead.


"That was pretty big, holding them to a field goal said Davis. "At halftime, we talked to them about playing as a team and doing the things we were capable of doing and everyone being sound and everyone knowing their roll, taking care of their business. That's playing as a unit."


DeSales drove 74 yards in 10 plays as Scroggins one yard touchdown run and Demarcus Avery's two point conversion run gave the Colts a 20-17 with 4:10 in the third quarter. Johnson had six carries for 38 yards in the drive.


Disaster stuck early in the fourth quarter when Scroggins fumbled a wet ball and Mercer County recovered at the Colts 25. It took the Titans just four plays as quarterback Kaelin Drakeford connected with Dillon Warren for an 18 yard touchdown with 9:47 in the fourth quarter.


"The ball was slick," said Scroggins. "I was worried a little bit. But I knew our defense would step up big. I told the team, 'shake it off we'll get the ball and score.'"


And score they did. 


DeSales drove 69 yards in nine plays as Johnson's three yard touchdown run and Blake Givens kick put the Colts ahead 27-23 with 5:01 in the fourth quarter. 


After DeSales forced a Mercer County punt the Colts drove 62 yards in four plays, as Johnson had a 44 yard run in the drive. Scroggins one yard touchdown plunge up the middle with 1:38 remaining gave DeSales a 10 point lead.


Avery intercepted a Drakeford pass and returned it 46 yards for a touchdown with 1:01 remaining.


"In the first half, I don't think we were really focused,"said Scroggins. "In the second half we came out strong. Our line was blocking really good. Our running backs were hitting the hole harder. We just clicked the second half."


Mercer County (7-2, 3-1) will host CAL in two weeks, a team the Titans beat 45-42, September 27. "They played a really good second half, extremely well," said Mercer County coach David Buchanan. "They are good up front. They've got good skill guys. They tackle well. The are a really good football team. We've got to get a whole lot better to get back to them."


Davis said this is just the first step toward DeSales' ultimate goal. "This isn't the trophy we wanted (District). We've still got other things we're trying to take care of."

James Johnson and his teammates will take care of that.



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