Sweet Water still top Dawg
By Jason Cannon
SWEET WATER — This was a statement game.
Linden’s statement: Move over Sweet Water. We’re the kings of 1A, now.
Sweet Water’s statement: Not so fast.
The Bulldogs (3-1, 3-Region) unseated the reigning No. 1 Class 1A Patriots (3-1, 2-1 Region) 21-12 Friday night.
“This didn’t settle anything,” Sweet Water coach Stacy Luker said of his team’s win over its biggest threat to claim the region crown. “All it settled is one team will play at home and one team will travel come November.”
The game got off to a fast start as Linden marched its opening possession down the field, hitting the scoreboard first on a 10-yard touchdown toss from Sophomore quarterback Anthony Robinson to Gerald Bruno.
The Patriots defense forced the Bulldogs to punt their first possession away and two offensive plays later, Kendarius Fritts broke a 62-yard run on what appeared to be a touchdown before being chased down from behind by Sweet Water’s Deon Waters and tackled at the two yard line. That play, Luker said, carried some significance for his team.
“I thought that play right there, that was where the game started to turn for us,” he said. “I think that’s where we started to take control.”
With Linden knocking on the endzone, Sweet Water’s Kersten Williams pounced on a fumble and killed the Patriots’ drive. The fumble recovery set up a Bulldog drive that would go 95 yards, 65 of which came off a long touchdown run by Waters with 59 seconds left in the first.
Sweet Water’s 7-6 lead would last only four minutes thanks to Robinson, who this time found Najee Bright wide open for a 25-yard score, giving Linden the 12-7 edge with nine minutes left in the half.
Linden’s lead would last only eight seconds.
Caderius Ward took the kickoff more than 70 yards to take back the lead, 14-12.
That was all she wrote for the Linden offense.
The Sweet Water defense, coupled with a rushing offense that did little more than grind minutes off the clock, held Linden ‚ one of the most prolific scoring offenses in 1A — to only eight offensive possessions and 15 yards in the game’s final 24 minutes.
The Bulldogs put the game away on Brett Davis’ one yard quarterback sneak, giving Sweet Water the final 21-12 lead.
Fritts led the Patriots with 104 yards rushing on 15 carries. Robinson was 7-for-9 with 105 passings, two touchdowns and one interception. Bruno led the receiving corps with five catches for 81 yards.
Sweet Water’s defense was unrelenting, forcing four turnovers on the night.
Junior running back Michael Thompson led the Bulldog ground game with 49 yards on 20 carries.
Next up for Sweet Water is Handley. Linden, who suffered their first regular season loss since 2007, will travel to Greene County.