Sweet Water gears up for state

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, January 2, 2007

SWEET WATER &045; This weekend is what all of the football teams in the Alabama High School Athletic Association look forward to.

The Sweet Water High School Bulldogs will be making their second trip in three years to the Super 6 Championships. Their opponent is the No. 4 ranked Cedar Bluff Tigers out of Cherokee County, who are making their appearance in the title game.

There is much excitement brewing in Bulldog country these days. Sweet water has bounced back this season, making the return to Birmingham. They got thumped out of the playoffs in the second round last season, following the year they won it all.

The Bulldogs make no bones about what they will do offensively in Saturday’s game. They will run the ball. They have the most dominant one-two running attack, which includes senior Dominick Holt and junior Anthony Landrum. They have a third running weapon in the starting backfield that Sweet Water use as well in junior quarterback Drew Luker. He has also been consistent in the air this year. In last weeks 28-6 win over Maplesville, Landrum ran for 206 yards, Holt ran for 135 yards, and D. Luker gained 66 yards on the ground. 400-plus yards on the ground is a normal game total for the Bulldogs.

Head coach Stacy Luker has his squad well prepared for the big game.

Cedar Bluff (13-1) beat Appalachian in round one, Hubbard in the second round, got by No. 5 ranked and previously unbeaten Donoho 28-25, in round three, and last week they knocked off Ragland, 36-14, in the semi-finals to earn a trip to Birmingham Saturday. The Tigers have averaged almost 35 points per game in the playoffs this year. It means that they know how to get to the end zone.

The Tigers reached the quarterfinals of the playoffs in each of the last two years. In 2004 they fell two Hubbard, who would go on to the championship game, only to be defeated by Sweet Water. Cedar Bluff also advanced to the quarterfinals in 2002.

The Tigers feature senior quarterback Jamie Hampton, who is an offensive weapon all by him self. Hampton, who has made a commitment to Purdue University, is very effective passing as well as running.

While the focus seems to be on the Sweet Water offense, the defense in the playoffs has been the key to keeping the offense in great field position. If the opponent can’t make first downs, that give a huge advantage to the offense, mainly in the fourth quarter. When a defense starts to get worn down, it gives an opportunity for an offense to create havoc. The Bulldog defense has given up only five points a game in the playoffs so far.

Luker has constantly emphasized before every playoff game, for his team to play Sweet Water football.

Kickoff for the 1A championship game is slated for 11 a.m. at Legion Field in Birmingham.