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Sweet Water loses home opener to Thomasville

The battle between two ranked teams to open the season in Sweet Water was not exactly the crisp, clean, exciting game it would have been towards the end of the season, but Class 4A’s No. 4 Thomasville took a 21-6 lead and had to hold on down the stretch to land the 21-19 win at Class 1A’s No. 1 Sweet Water.

“We had so many first-game errors,” said THS head coach Jack Hankins, “but an ugly win is better than a pretty loss.

Thomasville (1-0) got on the scoreboard first when quarterback Sean Skelton found Mitchell Cowan on a 17-yard pass at the end of the first quarter. Jimmie Lewis’s extra-point kick gave the Tigers a 7-0 lead.

Sweet Water (0-1) responded on the second play of its ensuing drive, as senior Johnny Lockett took off for a 69-yard run through the middle for the Bulldogs’ first touchdown of the season. The extra-point kick was blocked, but SWHS was on the board, trailing 7-6.

Midway through the second quarter, James Williams ran the ball in from four yards out to help put THS ahead 14-6 at the half.

Thomasville put another score on the board on its first drive of the second half, as a 57-yard run by James Jones set up a Jones score from four yards out, giving THS a 21-6 lead with 6:57 left in the third quarter.

A 42-yard kickoff return by Michael Thompson and a penalty against Thomasville helped Sweet Water start its next drive from the THS 28. The Bulldogs pushed their way up the middle until Brett Davis ran a quarterback keeper into the endzone for another score for the ’Dogs. The two-point conversion attempt failed, but Sweet Water had cut its deficit to 21-12 with 2:44 left in the third quarter.

With 5:40 left in the game Sweet Water mounted a drive from their own 14 and used a 26-yard run by Chris Landrum to get to the THS 49. Landrum later connected on a 12-yard pass to Linc Luker, then Lockett pushed the ball into the endzone for another score with 30.1 seconds remaining. The extra-point kick was good, but proved to be the final point of the game.

“It was a physical football game for both teams. (Sweet Water) is a good football team — better than anyone in our region — and to start the season against a state champion team, I’m glad for the victory,” Hankins said.