• 52°

Sweet Water drowns J.U. Blacksher

“It’s a dog-eat-dog world, and I’m wearing Milkbone underwear.”

— Norm from the TV show “Cheers”

SWEET WATER – It didn’t take long to tell which ’Dogs were the eaters and which ’Dogs were the eatees, as the Sweet Water Bulldogs devoured the J.U. Blacksher Bulldogs 40-0 last night.

The win — Sweet Water’s 36th straight — clinched the Class 1A Region 1 title for the homestanding Bulldogs. SWHS, which ranked No. 1 in Class 1A this week, hosts Class 2A’s top team, Leroy, next week to close out the regular-season schedule.

Junior Johnny Lockett led all rushers with 106 yards on 13 carries, scoring two of Sweet Water’s six touchdowns. Junior Jeremy Landrum ran 99 yards for 12 carries and a TD, while sophomore Chris Landrum had 41 yards on nine rushes and a touchdown.

Freshman Michael Thompson scored a touchdown for SWHS (9-0 overall, 8-0 in Class 1A Region1), while senior quarterback Damaraquis Williams connected with senior Antonio Landrum for a 16-yard passing TD. Williams was 4-for-8 through the air for 94 yards.

J.U. Blacksher (6-3, 6-2 1A-1) was paced by senior Isaac Nichols, who had 53 yards on 13 carries. Four other rushers combined for 10 rushing yards on 15 carries.

J.U. Blacksher had the first possession of the game and was forced to punt the ball away, but a fumbled return gave the ball back to the visiting team. Four plays later, J.U. Blacksher punted the ball away, giving Sweet Water the ball on its own 25-yard line.

SWHS used an 11-play, 75-yard drive to score the first touchdown of the game, a 12-yard run by Lockett, giving Sweet Water a 7-0 lead with 4:41 left in the first quarter.

J.U. Blacksher fumbled the ball away at midfield on its ensuing drive, and Sweet Water took advantage, using a 17-yard pass from Williams to Tate Luker to set up a 20-yard run by Lockett for his second TD of the game, giving the home ’Dogs a 14-0 lead with 1:53 left in the first period.

Sweet Water scored on each of its first three drives, using a nine-yard romp by Chris Landrum to put SWHS ahead 21-0 with 8:04 left in the second quarter, where the score stayed until halftime.

As in the first half, Sweet Water scored on each of its first three drives of the second half, but controlled the clock, using 17 minutes of possession to J.U. Blackher’s seven.

On the first drive of the third quarter, SWHS opened with a 17-yard run by Jeremy Landrum and an 11-yard run by Lockett to push the ball down the field. J.U. Blacksher was flagged for being offsides three times in the drive (nine times in the second half), helping the host Bulldogs move closer to the goalline. Jeremy Landrum used an eight-yard run to score another Sweet Water touchdown to give SWHS a 27-0 lead with 8:47 left in the third period.

Sweet Water began another 11-play drive, this one going for 58 yards and eating up 5:05 on the clock, capped by a 16-yard pass from Williams to Antonio Landrum to give SWHS a 34-0 lead with 11.7 seconds left in the third quarter.

On J.U. Blacksher’s ensuing drive, the team lost 31 yards on one play when a bad snap scooped up by quarterback Wykein Dean caused him to scramble in the backfield, pursued by Sweet Water defenders. He threw the ball down, but it looked like Dean fumbled the ball, and SWHS’s Lockett scooped it up and ran for the endzone. Dean was flagged for intentional grounding, and pushed J.U. Blacksher back to its 16-yard line.

Another botched snap on a punt attempt gave Sweet Water the ball on the JUB 38-yard line. Thompson was able to ramble eight yards for the final touchdown of the night with 6:32 left in the fourth quarter.

J.U. Blacksher fumbled the ball away on its own 38-yard line with six minutes to go, but Sweet Water ran out the clock without scoring.

“Every win’s a good win; don’t get me wrong,” said SWHS head coach Stacy Luker, who pushed his seven-year record to 72-15. “I thought we were a little bit sloppy at times tonight, but we played hard. We wore out some guys tonight, trying to get people healed. This was a good win. The regional championship just keeps all of our goals in place.

“We thought in the first half that (J.U. Blacksher) may have won a few physical battles with us. That’s really what we got after our offensive line at halftime: winning more physical battles in the second half, and that’s what we did. We tried to just ground that thing and put it on their shoulders and came right at them.”

J.U. Blacksher — which is tied for second in 1A Region 1 with McIntosh — will have the No. 2 seed in the region by virtue of its regular-season win over McIntosh. Marengo High School has the No. 4 seed from the region.