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Sweet Water hosts McIntosh

SWEET WATER — The Bulldogs (10-1) return to the field tonight to host McIntosh (8-2) in the second round of the AHSAA, Class 1A state playoffs. The game is a rematch of the Oct. 17 game in which Sweet Water bested the Demons 48-6 on the road.

“If sort of scary if you want to know the truth about it,” Sweet Water head coach Stacy Luker said of the prospect of playing a team with which his players have such familiarity. “You just hope that your kids are taking them seriously and are taking them to the point that they are a second round football team.”

Luker said that, despite the lopsided score between the teams in their first meaning, McIntosh poses a legitimate threat to the Bulldogs.

“They’re a very dangerous team,” Luker said of the Demons. “They’ve got enough athletes to beat us.”

In addition to having a strong complement of athletes, McIntosh also brings to the contest one of the more respected coaches in the state.

“Their coach, Larry Boykin, has three straight championship rings in the last 10 years,” Luker said of one of his long-time coaching rivals and peers. “He’s just going to do what they do.”

Luker faced Boykin on numerous occasions while coaching at 4A Thomasville and said he looks forward to facing off with the former coach of South Choctaw High School.

It’s fun from the standpoint that you know they’re going to be prepared and they’re going to be well-coached,” Luker said. “He’s always had teams that played defense and ran the football well.”

Luker’s team punched its ticket into the second round with a 49-0 wallop of Geneva County a week ago. That win came on the heels of the team’s first loss in 36 tries.

“They rebounded pretty well,” Luker said of his player’s response following the 28-21 loss to Leroy it suffered on Oct. 31. “We played with a little bit of a big-game hangover afterwards. Their mentality this week has been good. I’ve been real pleased this week.”

Despite the fact that his team won 36 consecutive games and three of the last four state championships, Luker said the Bulldogs are strive to avoid complacency.

“The teams we play don’t really care what we’ve done in previous years,” Luker said. “We just try not to ever get satisfied and stagnant and try to remind (our players) there is always room to improve.”