This was not an easy season for Mercer’s 2018 football team, but despite the many setbacks they still managed to pull off a respectable conference record, finishing 4-4.
Their last game against Furman showcased how given better circumstances, they could have a much better season. Once again, Harrison Frost started as Mercer’s quarterback with Robert Riddle out due to a collarbone injury and Kaelan Riley not seeing the field until late in the third quarter.
Furman led Mercer almost the entire game, but the Bears kept the deficit close, at times looking like they could possibly pull ahead. They were finally able to do so in the fourth quarter.
With Tee Mitchell still injured, all of Mercer’s running plays had to be carried out by Tyray Devezin, who has shown out after Mitchell was taken out for the season. In the last game, Devezin made 185 rushing yards on 30 carries.
However, being over-reliant on Devezin made it easy for Furman’s defense to predict Mercer’s next play, and the Paladins reacted accordingly by locking down those routes.
When Riley finally returned to the field, it provided the team a drive that almost carried them to a victory. Riley passed to Marquise Irvin with 00:13 left on the clock for a touchdown, putting the game at 29-24 before the fourth quarter.
Later, Riley passed to Devezin to put Mercer ahead for the first time in the game, 30-29. However, Furman returned the favor five minutes later with the game winning touchdown.
“It was a tough locker room to leave tonight, especially when you have 17 seniors who gave so much to this program,” head coach Bobby Lamb said in a press release. “Whether you win or lose, all 17 of those seniors will graduate. As I told them, this journey is about the relationships they’ve built here. But it’s still tough to see them go through pain in a game that we really played well in at times.”
That senior class includes key players like Marquise Irvin, Tee Mitchell, Stephen Houzah, Lemarkus Bailey, Isaiah Buehler and kicker Cole Fisher just to name a few.
There are many players returning next season who hopefully can help put some steam back into Mercer football’s engine.
Returning are all three of Mercer’s quarterbacks, Riddle, Riley and Frost, as well as running back Devezin and wide receiver David Durden.
Given all of the injuries this year, this season went better than expected and leaves the feeling that great things could have happened had these setbacks been avoided.
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