Improved Dawgs ready for opener

Published 11:10 pm Tuesday, November 2, 2010

SWEET WATER — It is the first week of November, which means the annual Sweet Water rite of getting ready for the first round of the state playoffs.

This year’s first round opponent will be Class 1A, Region 2 No. 4 seed Pleasant Home.

“They like to spread the ball, but they run a lot,” SWHS head coach Stacy Luker said of his team’s first round foe. “They are a power running team. They’ve got a running back (Frank Senn) that has over 900 yards rushing the last three games.”

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Pleasant Home enters Friday’s first round matchup at 5-5, but may offer the Bulldogs the toughest first round test they have seen in a few years.

“They are 5-5, but they’ve played a good second half of the season,” Luker said. “They seem to me to be playing good football right now.”

The Bulldogs will have to counter Pleasant Home with a bit of a patchwork lineup. Auburn commit and two-way mainstay Chris Landrum is still out after an ankle injury suffered in week one of the season against Thomasville. The Bulldogs also will be without leading rusher Michael Thompson, who suffered a concussion in the first half last week against Leroy.

“Offensively, Michael really stepped up. He had 1,009 yards rushing before going out last week,” Luker said.

The Bulldogs have also seen production from a number of players who have managed to step up in Landrum’s absence.

“I think, defensively, it is really not a surprise but Devann White stepped up. He had over 100 tackles in the regular season,” Luker said. “Trayun Jones has had a good year on the defensive line.”

The Bulldogs have also gotten major contributions from Deon Waters, who has more than 700 yards rushing, Ty Morgan, who has been consistent at the tight end position, and freshman kicker Taylor Wilson, who has connected on 48 of his 51 extra point attempts.

Luker said that despite the injuries, he is comfortable with where his team is as it heads into postseason play.

“We’re just a little bit more beat up than I want to be,” Luker said. “But we’ve gotten better. We got exposed a little bit against Handley. But we’ve been able to work on those things. I’m not totally surprised that we’re 7-3 with this particular team. But they are a good, hard working team and I think they have a legitimate shot at winning the state championship. I like where we’re at as a team.”

Sweet Water hosts Pleasant Grove Friday night at 7 p.m.