Bulldogs drop heart-breaker to Patriots 33-28

Published 12:00 am Saturday, October 16, 2004

TUSCALOOSA – It wasn’t supposed to end that way.

Sweet Water and American Christian, both ranked in the Class 1A top ten, played that classic whoever-has-the-ball-last-wins kind of game.

The team that had the ball last, Sweet Water, couldn’t quite finish the story, losing 33-28 to No. 4 ACA.

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With 6:33 left in the game, ACA’s high-powered offense began a methodical, three-minute drive that ended with quarterback Chris Smelley weaving 24 yards to put the Patriots ahead 33-28.

If the Patriots made a mistake on that drive, it was giving Sweet Water 3:48 with which to work.

After Anthony Landrum returned the Patriot kick to the 27, Bulldog quarterback Deon Williams masterminded a drive that put his team in position to walk away with it’s most storied win in more than a decade.

Williams kept the first snap of the possession and raced 16 yards for a Bulldog first down.

Two plays later he hit freshman Travis Young for a 10-yard gain and another first down. With 1:32 left in regulation and Sweet Water facing third and 12 Williams connect Juan Brothers at the ACA 35 to keep the Bulldog’s chance at an upset alive.

Another 16-yard strike to young silenced the ACA crowd and put the Bulldogs inside the Patriot’s 20-yard line with less than a minute to go.

After three incomplete passes and a penalty, the Bulldogs faced fourth and 15 with 31.4 seconds left. Williams scrambled in the pocket and completed a 14-yard pass to Brothers, putting the Bulldogs at the ACA 5-yard line with 29 seconds to go.

After two incomplete passes and facing a third down, Williams kept the ball around left end and stepped out of bounds at the ACA 3-yard line.

On fourth-and-win-or-lose, Sweet Water sophomore running back Dominic Holt took a hand off but couldn’t find a hole.

ACA’s defense, susceptible through the last two= quarters of the game, made its biggest stoop of the season and escaped with a 33-28 win.

For the first two quarters though, it appeared the home-standing Patriots would have little trouble with Sweet Water. On their first possession of the game, Smelley connected with Jeffery Ogren for a 33-yard touchdown pass.

Ogren, by far, was the difference for ACA. He had six catches for 139 yards and two touchdowns in the first half alone.

Sweet Water got on the board with 10:28 left in the second quarter on a Williams keeper. He scored again with 6:03 left in the half to pull Sweet Water to 20-14.

ACA scored one more time in the first half to take a 26-14 lead into the break.

Sweet Water pulled to within a touchdown when Williams scored again with 29 seconds left in the third quarter. Landrum put the Bulldogs ahead 28-26 on a 79-yard touchdown run with 7:47 left in the game.

Despite holding the Patriot offense for most of the second half, Sweet Water couldn’t stop the Smelley-Ogren combination on ACA’s last drive of the game.

Sweet Water next faces John Essex on the road.