It wasn’t the outcome Western Hills football coach Don Miller wanted, but it was the improvement he was looking for.
The Wolverines hosted Mercer County Friday, an opponent that’s the fifth-ranked Class 3A team in the state in the latest Associated Press poll and whose only loss was its season opener against undefeated Boyle County.
“What I told them before the game is we haven’t put a full game together,” Miller said. “We’ll play a great first quarter and then struggle in the second quarter and dig ourselves too big of a hole.
“Tonight I thought we played better. We played all four quarters.”
The Titans (5-1) led 6-0 after the first quarter and tacked on a touchdown with less than a minute to go in the second quarter on a 55-yard pass from Trosper Buchanan to Aaron Caton, putting them ahead 13-0 at halftime.
Mercer added two touchdowns in the third quarter, on a 19-yard run by Brayden Dunn and a 1-yard quarterback keeper by Buchanan, and the Titans were ahead 26-0 with 4:16 left in the third quarter.
The Wolverines started their first scoring drive on their next series, capping it with a 6-yard touchdown run by Jason Rogers. The big play of the drive was a 50-yard pass from Dylan Engler to Rogers.
With 5:44 left in the game, Engler an 8-yard touchdown pass to Rogers, and the Wolverines trailed 26-12.
That was as close as Western Hills got. Mercer turned the ball over on downs at the WHHS 5-yard line with 3:41 remaining.
A 13-yard pass from Engler to Dylan McGaughey gave WHHS a first down, and a personal foul penalty on the Titans two plays later moved the ball to Western Hills’ 39-yard line.
Mercer intercepted a pass with 1:02 left and took a knee on the next two plays to close out the game.
“In the second half we fought, battled,” Miller said. “This team beat CAL (Christian Academy of Louisville) 31-28, and they were ahead 28-12 before winning in overtime.
“I told the kids I’m proud of them. You don’t like a loss, but we did some good things.”
Western Hills (2-4, 0-3) will close out the regular season at home Friday against DeSales. The district opponents were scheduled to play Oct. 16, but it was postponed because of a COVID-19 concern at DeSales.
DeSales (2-2, 1-0) is ranked fourth in the state. The Colts haven’t played the last three weeks because of COVID cancelations. CAL (4-2, 2-1) is ranked ninth.
The Wolverines were originally scheduled to host Franklin County Friday.