Bulldogs rebound from late season injuries to advance
The (6-4) Sweet Water Bulldogs came into their first round playoff match-up with the (7-3) Purple Cats battered and bruised carrying the full weight of four consecutive losses and in desperate need of a win to move on in the playoffs.
But by the half, the ‘Dawgs were already thinking about who their next opponent would be as they chew up the Purple Cats 41-20 and advance into the second round of the playoffs.
Bulldogs head coach Stacy Luker was sure proud of his young teams effort Friday night and is happy to be moving on no matter who it will be against. "We don’t know right now who we will get in the next round but it don’t matter right now. We are just glad to still be playing," Luker said.
Although they may not know who they will play next they are well aware that they will have to travel but none of that matters right now, the (Dawgs are just pleased to be winning again. "Any win in the playoffs is a big win but this one was really important to this group. It was good therapy. We needed it, we haven’t won in a month," Luker said.
The (Dawgs were lead by running back Dominc Holt with 27 carries for 132 yards for two touchdowns. Following close behind Holt was sophomore running back Travion Lockett with nine carries for 102 yards. The ‘Dawgs gathered a total of 283-rushing yards on the night and looked as impressive as ever with their running game.
The (Dawgs got on the board early after a Purple Cats fumble at their own 43-yard line and two plays later the ‘Dawgs were in the end zone. Bulldogs quarterback Deon Williams hit Locket for an 11-yard pass completion and then ran 31 yards for the go ahead touchdown.
The Purple Cats came back strong with a run and pass combination that moved them deep into Bulldogs territory. But the (Dawgs defense tightened their grip and prevented any further damage stopping the Purple Cats at the Sweet Water 32-yard line.
Four plays later the (Dawgs were in the end zone again on a Holt 2-yard blast up the middle for the touchdown. Lockett made good on the two-point-conversion and the (Dawgs lead by 14.
But the Purple Cats didn’t quite and continued to threaten with their passing game, which helped to move them into Bulldogs territory.
The Purple Cats then switched back to their running game and found the end zone on a Lance Caple 31-yard TD run that cut the lead 14-6 with 2:07 left in the first quarter. Moving slowly the (Dawgs were able to put together a 12-play, 48-yard drive that was captivated by a Holt 3-yard touchdown run to give the (Dawgs a 21-6 lead.
The Purple Cats went back to work and put together a 12-play, 57-yard drive lead by running back Brandon Casey that cut the lead to 21-12 with 2:06 left in the half. But for every action the (Dawgs had a reaction and answered back quickly. Three plays later the (Dawgs were up 28-12 after a 38-yard touchdown pass from Williams to Juan Brothers with 1:35 left on the clock.
In the second half the Purple Cats came out strong and had the (Dawgs second-guessing about their second round chances. The third quarter was dominate by the Purple Cats who used up 4:34 off the clock on a 12-play, 62-yard drive that brought the Purple Cats to within eight points of upsetting the (Dawgs.
But that was as close as they would get as the ‘Dawgs continued to find the end zone throughout the fourth quarter. Holt got busy on the ground in the fourth quarter, which allowed the Bulldogs to rack up two more touchdowns. "He accepted the challenge when we needed it," Luker said.
Williams sped around the corner on a 6-yard touchdown with 11:51 left in the game and after more hard work from Holt, Lockett put the Purple Cats away with a 17-yard touchdown run with 1:44 left in the game.
Next week, the Bulldogs will travel to Tallapoosa County to face Reeltown.