Sweetwater must establish run
Published 12:00 am Thursday, December 9, 2004
People who have watched Sweet Water play throughout the year may not think the passing game is a big part of what the Bulldogs do. However, for the past couple of weeks the passing game has been huge. Key completions in critical situations have allowed the Bulldogs to catch Loachapoka and Brantley off guard and change the field position quickly.
For two straight weeks the Bulldogs have caught the opposition sleeping setting up long scoring strikes from quarterback Deon Williams to Drew Luker. Both shots came early in the game and were the result of teams cramming players in the box and taking their attention away from a tall, speedy split end.
As long as Sweet Water can get Courtland to commit to the run the Bulldogs will have an opportunity to go to the skinny post as often as they please. A one on one match up between Luker, who is 6’2″, and any defensive back is a mismatch. Especially on a route that gives him inside position.
Getting them to crowd the line of scrimmage will be the key.
Hubbard has a strong linebacking corps capable of shutting down opposing defenses. The supporting numbers don’t lie. Hubbard is giving up an average of only 8.5 points per game in the playoffs. Three opponents have been held to seven points or less. Cedar Bluff has been the only team to have much success against the Chiefs posting 20 points in their third round loss.
Whenever you are able to hold a team to such a low scoring number it usually means you are beating up on them early. The big question remains as to whether or not Sweet Water can establish the run, pass more licks than they take and set up the pass.
Hubbard’s defensive numbers are impressive. Sweet Waters rushing numbers are astounding. The Bulldogs have two players over 1,000 yards for the season and two more above 500.
Anthony Landrum has been a key for Sweet Water with 1,456 yards and 28 touchdowns on 162 carries. Landrum has found a lot of success off right tackle usually after a long Williams completion to Luker. For the past two weeks Landrum has followed a long Luker pass with a touchdown scamper. When this happens there is simply nowhere for the defense to go. Dedicate men to Landrum and you have a mismatch in the defensive backfield. Drop back for support and Landrum will find a hole for big yardage.
Early on the story of the game will be told on the Chief’s defensive line. Sweet Water needs only to get a little lean and a few first downs to slowly move Hubbard closer and closer to the line.
If that happens don’t be surprised to see Sweet Water go to Luker on the exact same play at the same point in the game. If Luker can beat the Chief’s defensive back the way he has beaten the last two the game can change completely. As for Sweet Water quarterback Deon Williams, he is more than capable of making the play work. Williams has hit on 66 of 128 passes this season for 1,445 yards with 12 scores and only two interceptions.
This game can be won or lost in many areas, but for the Bulldogs to come out on top the one on one match up of Luker and the Chief’s safety could sway things their way early.