How sweet it is – Bulldogs advance to semifinals
Published 12:00 am Monday, November 29, 2004
LOACHAPOKA – The Sweetwater Bulldogs didn’t have the odds on their side when they took the long bus ride to Loachapoka Friday. At the end of the road was an undefeated Indian team that many felt would be a favorite to take the 1-A state crown. Unfortunately, for Loachapoka, someone forgot to tell the Bulldogs they weren’t supposed to win.
Instead the Bulldogs rolled into Lee County with a plan and an attitude. The Bulldogs were also able to do three things successful playoff teams must do. Stay close in the first half, make adjustments and take advantage of the opponent’s mistakes.
Things did not start fast for Sweetwater. The Bulldogs actually trailed the game 7-6 at halftime before exploding for 29 second half points.
Luckily, the Bulldogs created their own breaks to put the Indians on their heals. The Bulldogs did so right away using a Demaraquis Williams fumble recovery to set up a 17-play 60-yard touchdown drive. The Bulldogs pushed the Indians down the field taking 7:46 off the clock before Anthony Landrum crashed into the enmdzone from two yards out. The extra point attempt failed leaving the Bulldogs in a dangerous state up only 6-0.
The Indians made the missed extra point come back to haunt them as they answered with an 11 play 81 yard drive to take the lead. Quincy Smith went into the endzone for the Indians and Jerrell Philpot added the extra point to give the Indians their only lead of the night 7-6. The score would remain the same for the rest of the half, but would hold up for the final quarters of play.
Sweetwater came out in the third quarter on fire. The Bulldogs scored on their first two possessions of the third quarter to set the tone for the rest of the game. The first touchdown was set up by a bad snap on an Indian punt, which gave the Bulldogs the ball at the Loachapoka 34. On the next play from scrimmage Deon Williams found Drew Luker all alone behind the Indian defense for the quick score. The PAT by Phillip Scheide was good giving the Bulldogs a 13-7 lead.
Sweetwater would make their next drive count as well taking the ball 42 yards on 8 plays for the score. This time it would be Dominic Holt finding the endzone from four yards out to put the Bulldogs up 19-7. Holt also made it in for the two-point conversion to give the Bulldogs a more comfortable 21-7 advantage.
The Bulldogs third quarter success carried over to the final period of play as they turned a once close game into a blowout. The Bulldogs found their way to the endzone with 7:47 to go in the game as Anthony Landrum went in from 6 yards to put the score at 27-7. Again the PAT was good making it 28-7.
Only minutes later the Bulldogs opened the floodgates when Holt went up the middle again for a 17-yard touchdown scamper. The PAT capped the scoring giving the Bulldogs a 35-7 win over previously undefeated Loachapoka and a ton of confidence heading into next weeks semifinals.
The Bulldogs, who are now 11-2 on the year, will face traditional 1-A power Brantley for a shot at Birmingham and the state title next Friday.