Sweet Water rips McKenzie 42-6

Published 12:24 am Saturday, November 14, 2009

The homestanding Sweet Water defense stopped visiting McKenzie’s game-opening drive at the goal line, then took the ball the entire distance back to score on its opening drive, as the Bulldogs got a 42-6 second-round playoff win over the Tigers on Friday.

The goal-line stand early in the game sparked the Bulldogs (11-1), who scored 21 straight points in the second quarter.

The defense and special teams played a big role in the win, as Jul Gaines scooped up a McKenzie fumble and returned it 36 yards for a touchdown in the second quarter. In the third quarter, Chris Landrum took a punt return 37 yards for a score.

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The Sweet Water defense held McKenzie (10-2) to 55 rushing yards on 30 carries, although MHS quarterbacks Calvin Henderson and Emmanuel Johnson combined for 130 yards through the air on 11 completions.

On offense, the Bulldogs amassed 324 yards on the ground and 31 through the air. Jeremy Landrum led all rushers with 121 yards on nine carries and one touchdown. Johnny Lockett had 106 yards on 12 runs. Chris Landrum and Michael Thompson each had a rushing TD, while Linc Luker had a TD reception from quarterback Brett Davis.

Armand Ball led the Tigers with 61 yards rushing on 12 carries, while Johnson hauled in three passes for 69 yards and one touchdown.

“We made mistakes in the first half that pretty much cost us,” said McKenzie head coach Miles Brown, who served as an interim coach at Sweet Water nine years ago. “We just couldn’t overcome that after halftime.

“There’s a lot of feelings — mixed emotions,” he said of his return to Sweet Water. “They’ve got a great program with great tradition here. That’s what we’re trying to have in McKenzie.”

“We can’t win championships without our defense,” said SWHS head coach Stacy Luker. “We came in wanting to limit the big play. We felt like if we didn’t give up the big plays, then they wouldn’t be able to close out drives, and that’s exactly what happened. That goal-line stand was just part of being great on defense. We felt like we could control the line of scrimmage pretty good. We just didn’t want to give up any big plays. They have great skill players.

“We have Loachapoka (10-1) coming in here next week. When you get to this point in the playoffs, everybody’s got a shot at winning; it doesn’t matter where you play. They’re going to be big, fast and physical. They have great athletes and great coaching.”