Sweet Water stays alive in dogfight

Published 12:00 am Monday, December 6, 2004

For the Sweet Water bulldogs an 18-year wait is over. After taking a 34-20 win over previously undefeated Brantley the Bulldogs will make their first appearance in the state championship game since 1986. The Bulldogs did so by running over, around a through the Brantley defense in a game that was nowhere near as close s the final score.

It was never supposed to be that close. Many people had Brantley poised to run away with the game and the state title. But Sweet Water Coach Stacy Luker said his team has overcome odds like that since the start.

“You talk about overcoming obstacles, well this team has done it,” Luker said. “I have talked about it all year long and I will continue to. They have really pulled together and I am proud of them.”

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Sweet Water rolled up an amazing 352 rushing yards including 217 from freshman Anthony Landrum. Sweet Water’s dominance was evident from the opening possession. After holding Brantley on fourth down at the two yard line Sweet Water drove 98 yards on their opening possession.

On the eighth play of the Bulldog drive Deon Williams found Drew Luker on a post pattern all by himself to connect for a 38 yard scoring strike. Philllipp Scheide was good on the extra point making the score 7-0 Bulldogs.

Sweet Water had the same results by different means on their next drive, as they would use the ground attack to reach the endzone. This time it was Travian Lockett who bulled his way into the endzone from six yards out to up the score to 13-0. The PAT was again good making the score 14-0 early in the second.

Sweet Water scored on every possession of the first half but one and even on that drive they threatened. However, the Bulldogs were able to hold and set up a scoring drive of their own. Devaris Skanes would do the honors for the Bulldogs breaking into the endzone from four yards out. Tha PAT failed leaving the Bulldogs up 14-6 at the half.

Sweet Water came out in the second half with 20 unanswered points to put the game out of reach.

Again, the Bulldogs scored quickly on their opening drive of the half as Landrum went off right tackle for 64 yards on the third play from scrimmage. The Pat missed leaving the Brantley with room to work at 20-6.

Unfortunately, for Brantley, the Sweet Water defense had no plans of letting up. Sweet Water head coach Stacy Luker felt the performance of his defense helped turn the game around.

“Our defense has played great for the last three weeks,” Luker said. ” They have stuck their heads in there and gotten it done.”

The bulldogs quickly stuffed Brantley to set their offense up for a 10-play 64-yard drive. Landrum found the endzone for the third time on the night with an 18-yard run to up the score 26-6. With the PAT the Bulldogs led 27-7.

The Bulldogs officially made reservations for the Hoover Met on their next drive as they went 65 yards on 8 plays, and most importantly ran the clock. Lockett again found the endzone with 6:40 left to put Brantley out of reach.

Brantley tried to make it interesting with a six yard touchdown pass and another Edgar Walker to Skanes pass following an onside kick to pull Brantley to within a 34-20 score. That was as close as it would get. The Bulldogs pounded the ball down the field on their next possession to run out the clock.

Luker said the Bulldogs were able to hold on for the win because of a total team effort.

“This is a true team effort,” Luker said. “We all work as a team. If you ask any one of these kids they will tell you the same thing.”

Sweet Water now moves on to the Super Six in Birmingham where they will play Hubbard Courtland, who defeated Wadley 18-7, on Friday.