Mercer football preview

FOOTBALL-MERCER2

Mercer posted a 33-7 victory over Eisenhower in week one of the 2012 season. However, the Mustangs fell in each of their next six games. Mercer faced off against eight teams who finished with a winning record (2-6). The Mustangs will attempt to regain position in the region race.

Mercer has never won a District 10 Championship, falling three times in the title contest (2007 to Mercyhurst Prep, 1994 to Wilmington, 1993 to Northwestern).

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Coach Pat McClearn’s group will host Eisenhower in week one on Friday, August 30.

2013 Mercer Mustangs’ Football Preview
By Vince Pellegrini (@Vince_MYVS)
Head Coach: Pat McClearn, 9th season (53-35)
2012 Record: 3-7 (1-5), District 10 Region 1 (A)
2012 Post-Season Finish: Did Not Qualify

2012 Team Statistics
Points Scored: 17.9 (50th in Area)
Passing Yards: 124.6 (1246)
Rushing Yards: 125.9 (1259)
Points Allowed: 23.0 (29th in Area)

Returning Leaders
Passing: Logan Clarke – 1246 yards, 43.1 Comp % (78-181), 13 TDs
Rushing: Luke Leonard – 76 att, 404 yards, 2 TDs
Receiving: T.J. Peters – 12 rec, 273 yards, 4 TDs
Tackles: Luke Leonard – 65
Sacks: Troy Sagulla – 6.0
Interceptions: Walter Haines – 3

2013 Schedule
Aug. 30 – Eisenhower, 7 PM
Sept. 7 – Sharpsville, 7 PM
Sept. 14 – at Kennedy Catholic, 12 PM
Sept. 20 – Lakeview, 7 PM
Sept. 27 – at West Middlesex, 7 PM
Oct. 4 – Conneaut, 7 PM
Oct. 11 – at Mercyhurst Prep, 7 PM
Oct. 18 – Keystone, 7 PM
Oct. 25 – at Farrell, 7 PM
Nov. 1 – Reynolds, 7 PM

Offensive Strength: Junior signal caller Logan Clarke took over the reins last year from the graduated Alec Gawne. Clarke threw for 1,246 yards as he connected on 13 scores. Logan will want to improve on his completion percentage (43.1%) and interceptions (14) in 2013.

Offensive Weakness: The Mustangs dropped from a team which averaged 35 points per game in 2011 to an offense which scored just 17.8 last fall.

Defensive Strength: The secondary should be improved in 2013. Juniors TJ Peters (42 tackles) and Logan Clarke (1 INT) join senior Walter Haines (3 INTs) and sophomore Levi Bequeath (34 tackles) as players who have experienced the Friday night lights.

Defensive Weakness: Anytime a team loses the likes of Austin Slagle (146 tackles), Nate Brest (6 sacks) and Evan Nan (10 sacks), a defense not only loses the production but also the leadership. Will Luke Leonard (65 tackles), Zane O’Brien (54 tackles) and Walter Haines 3 INTs) take control of the defense as their leaders?

Storylines Facing the Mustangs
1. Odd Year, Big Offense. If the trend stays true, Mercer could be looking at a big offensive season. In 2007, Mercer registered 24.7 points per game. Then in 2009, they put together a 30.3 clip. Finally, in 2011, the Mustangs ran free for an unbelievable 35 point average.

2. Strength in Defense? With three big time talents gone (Austin Slagle, Evan Nan, Nate Brest), one would assume that Mercer’s defense would be down in 2013. They return a nice core up front (Troy Sagulla, Colton Smith, Braylon Edwards) and a duo (Luke Leonard, Zane O’Brien) who combined for 119 tackles last season from their linebacker spots.

3. A New Streak? Following last year’s 3-7 mark, the Mustangs’ streak of five winning seasons was snapped.

Did you know?Logan Clarke threw for more yards last year than what Mercer’s starting quarterbacks from the previous three seasons had combined. Clarke compiled 1,246 passing yards in 2012. Alec Gawne (2011), Aaron Collins (2010), and Andrew Erdos (2009) threw for a combined 1,227 yards.

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