Bulldogs cruise to first-round win over R.C. Hatch

SWEET WATER – An all-around solid performance allowed Sweet Water High School to advance to Round 2 of the Class 2A playoffs Friday, as the Bulldogs defeated R.C. Hatch for the second time this season.

Despite a face mask, Bulldog Xavier McIntosh (7) fights and pulls the Bobcat defender across the goal line, in Friday's game against R.C. Hatch.

Despite a face mask, Bulldog Xavier McIntosh (7) fights and pulls the Bobcat defender across the goal line, in Friday’s game against R.C. Hatch.

SWHS followed up a 49-24 regular-season win over the Bobcats with a 42-6 victory at Nolan Atkins Stadium Friday, setting the stage for next week’s second-round battle against unbeaten Elba.

“I thought our guys came out and performed well,” said Sweet Water head coach Pat Thompson. “We moved the ball on offense and our defense played well except for giving up a couple of big pass plays. Now we’ve got to get ready for Elba. In the playoffs you take one game at a time, and it will be a totally different animal next week.”

Sweet Water, 8-3, took advantage of three R.C. Hatch miscues to build a 21-0 first quarter lead Friday night. The Bobcats could not move on the opening series, and R.C. Hatch’s punter could not get the ball away when a host of Bulldogs crashed in the punt protection. The Bulldogs took over at the 26 and methodically moved the ball to the 1. Xavier McIntosh’s one-yard plunge put Sweet Water up and Deshawn Blanks’ PAT gave SWHS the 7-0 lead with 6:05 left in the first.

On the next Bobcat series, DeAmonte Greene recovered a fumbled shotgun snap at the 15 and Sweet Water quarterback Branson Davis found a wide open Paul Weatherly in the end zone on the next play to stake the ‘Dawgs to a 14-0 lead after Blanks’ extra point.

Late in the first, more pressure on the Hatch punter resulted in a mere eight-yard kick to the Bobcat 17. On the following play, McIntosh went 17 yards for the score.

Hatch then put together an impressive drive, but the Bobcats were turned away by a Will Huckabee interception at the 3. The Bulldogs then turned the tables and marched 97 yards to go up 28-0 late in the second. The score came on McIntosh’s three-yard run.

R.C. Hatch got its only points on the night on the ensuing kickoff, when Quindon Shaw returned the ball 84 yards for the touchdown, leaving the halftime score 28-6.

A host of Sweet Water defenders converge on R.C. Hatch's RB Daronte Ward (3).

A host of Sweet Water defenders converge on R.C. Hatch’s RB Daronte Ward (3).

Sweet Water finished the night’s scoring in the third quarter when McInthosh scored from two yards out, and Eric Jenkins found the end zone on a 14-yard run. Both scoring drives were aided by big plays – the first a 43-yard pass from Davis to Jonah Smith and the second a 60-yard Weatherly run to the Bobcat 25.

Neither team threatened in the fourth.

McIntosh finished the night with 111 yards on 18 carries. Weatherly followed with his lone carry of 60 yards, while Jenkins added 58 yards on 12 attempts.

Davis was 3-of-9 for 67 yards and the touchdown.