LEXINGTON, Ky. (WKYT) – Mercer Co. enters its third season under coach Chris Pardue. Expectations are high after the Titans posted a second straight winning season last year.
"It’s been a two team district with Boyle and Catholic, and we talk to our kids all the time, when you mention those type schools, we want to be mentioned with them,” Pardue said.
After two seasons under Pardue, who once coached at Boyle Co., the Titans are in that conversation.
"With us beating Boyle Co. last year, that just really gave us a lot of momentum,” defensive back Lorenzo Smith said. “Losing to Lexington Catholic in the region finals was heartbreaking, but we just didn't want it at the time."
"Beating Boyle was a huge accomplishment and that meant a lot to us,” tight end Joey Degiovanni said. “Being the underdog gave us more motivation to go in there and show everybody what we're made of. Show everybody that we can be up there with Boyle and Catholic."
Chris Crawley-Goodman stepped in at quarterback midway through last season due to injury and lead the Titans to an 8-5 record. He’s graduated, but Mercer Co. has a young guy ready to step into the role.
“Right now it's Dustin Baker, Chris' little brother. They can do a lot of the same things,” Pardue said.
And with the right breaks, Pardue says his team has what it takes to go all the way.
"A state Championship is not out of the question. I think we can be really good, but you have to be lucky in those situations. You have to be healthy in those situations and things just have to work together,” he said.
“It's not easy to do, because if it was easy to do, everybody would do it."