Keith to test Sweet Water

Published 8:44 pm Tuesday, November 1, 2011

SWEET WATER — The Bulldogs (7-3) open their 2011 playoff run Friday night when they host Class 1A, Region 4 No. 3 seed Keith (8-2).

The matchup is a clash of teams with similar offensive styles, both relying on a classic, old school offense to move the ball.

“They’re athletic, well-coached. They run a good wing-T. They’re a very patient offensive football team,” Sweet Water head coach Stacy Luker said. “They’re going to run the ball well. They’ve just got a good system. They’re more true wing-T than what us or Linden would ever hope to be.”

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While Sweet Water and Linden have each made their offensive livelihoods in the Wing-T, both add in wrinkles that occasionally deviate from the traditional form of the offense. Luker explained that Keith has been more methodical and deliberate in its execution of the scheme.

The offensive style has worked well for the squad. Keith enters the contest having last suffered a defeat on Sept. 9, a 44-0 setback at Pickens County. Since that loss, the Bears have reeled off seven straight victories by a combined score of 270-38.

“They’ve won seven in a row,” Luker said. “I think they’ll be a very confident team when they get here.”

Sweet Water is riding a hot streak in its own right, having won five games in a row leading into Friday’s first round contest. The latest in that string of victories came against another set of Bears when Sweet Water defeated Leroy last week.

“We’re a whole lot better right now than we were in week three through five,” Luker said. “We’re better now than we were early in the season that’s for sure. We’ve progressed nicely on both sides of the ball. We’ve got some momentum going into the playoffs. That’s the main thing. I’m liking us right now.”

The Bulldogs only setbacks in 2011 came against Class 4A power Thomasville, Class 3A mainstay Handley and Class 1A No. 1 Linden.

“I told our kids after the Handley game that I liked where we were,” Luker said. “Our leadership is starting to come around.”

While the schools are only about an hour apart, Sweet Water and Keith have never faced one another on the gridiron according to Alabama High School Football Historical Society.