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Sweet Water upset by Loachapoka

For the first time since 2005, the 1A state championship will not reside in Sweet Water. The Bulldogs played a tough Loachapoka team Friday night and made a brilliant effort on a scoring drive with only 47.5 seconds left in regulation to get within field-goal range, but the 35-yard attempt went wide, and the Indians held on for the 19-17 quarterfinal win.

Sweet Water (11-2) got on the scoreboard first, after getting its game-opening drive extended by a roughing the kicker penalty. Two plays later, Jeremy Landrum made a 48-yard run into the end zone with 9:02 left in the first quarter. Hunter Mayton’s extra-point kick gave the Bulldogs an early 7-0 lead.

Mayton’s foot would again give Sweet Water more points, as he connected on a 28-yard field-goal to push the Bulldog lead to 10-0 with 11:47 left in the second quarter.

However, Loachapoka (11-2) would bounce back, using a unsportsmanlike conduct penalty and a pass interference flag to push down the field, scoring when quarterback Patrick Moore hit Gregory Moss on a five-yard touchdown with 1:21 left in the first half. The extra-point kick made the score 10-7, which held up to halftime.

The Indians opened the second half with a scoring drive, as Moore completed six passes to march Loachapoka down the field, scoring on a nine-yard pass to Tracy Brooks to give LHS the lead with 8:51 left in the third quarter. The snap on the extra-point kick was fumbled, but the Indians had a 13-10 lead.

That’s where the score would stand until late in the fourth quarter, when Sweet Water came back. Chris Landrum pushed the ball four yards into the end zone to put the ’Dogs back on top with 2:46 left in the game. Mayton’s extra-point kick made it 17-13.

Loachapoka would not give up, though, using three passes of 25 or more yards to get downfield quickly, scoring when Moore punched the ball one yard through the line with 47.5 seconds remaining. The two-point conversion failed, but LHS had a 19-17 lead.

Sweet Water then set up its hurry-up offense, as Chris Landrum handled the quarterbacking duties, hitting Jul Gaines on every side of the field for quick yardage, with passes of 13, eight and 17 yards, getting to the LHS 18, setting up a 35-yard field-goal attempt with 3.4 seconds remaining. The kick went just wide to the right, and Loachapoka was able to hold on for the quarterfinal win.

“We executed well, and put ourselves in position to win,” said SWHS head coach Stacy Luker. “We just didn’t make the kick. That’s part of it.

“We hurt ourselves with penalties, but let’s not take anything away from Loachapoka. They just outplayed us. I think when we look at it, we’ll see that they made more plays than us. We could have put them away, and we didn’t. It was 10-0 in the second quarter. We gave them 30 yards in penalties on one drive. We expect to beat good football teams, and they are a good football team.”

Johnny Lockett had a game-high 117 yards on 21 carries, while Jeremy Landrum had 92 yards on 15 carries with a touchdown.