Bulldogs skin Leopards, set stage for WCHS showdown

(Photo by Johnny Autery)

(Photo by Johnny Autery)

SWEET WATER – Sweet Water High School cleared the first crucial hurdle in its quest for a third straight Class 2A, Region 1 title Friday night, handily defeating the visiting Mobile Christian Leopards 46-14.

The Bulldog victory sets the stage for next Thursday’s showdown with Washington County in Sweet Water. For the past two seasons, Sweet Water, Washington County and Mobile Christian have played a de facto round-robin schedule to determine the region championship.

“It’s going to be a good one,” said Sweet Water head coach Pat Thompson of next Thursday’s contest. “We know we’ve got to stop their running game, and they know they’ve got to stop ours.”

It was the Bulldog running game that made the difference Friday against Mobile Christian, although Sweet Water’s first score of the evening was set up by a 37-yard Branson Davis to Paul Weatherly pass to the Leopard 4 on the ‘Dogs first possession. Keldric Green got Sweet Water on the board with a four-yard run, followed by Jonah Smith’s PAT.

 Bulldog Paul Weatherly (8) races down field after a pass reception in action  against the Leopards of Mobile Christian,  Sweet Water cruises to a 46-14  victory.

(Photo by Johnny Autery)
Bulldog Paul Weatherly (8) races down field after a pass reception in action against the Leopards of Mobile Christian, Sweet Water cruises to a 46-14 victory.

The Bulldog defense, though yielding yardage to the Leopards early, came up with two big plays in the first quarter – both fumble recoveries by Deshon Kilpatrick within two minutes of each other and both in Mobile Christian territory. The second turnover led to Eric Jenkins’ two-yard run that put SWHS up 13-0 after one quarter.

Mobile Christian responded with its best drive of the evening, scoring on a trick play on fourth and goal from the 8, when Devin Curry took a screen pass from field goal formation, reversed his field and went in for the score. Austin Davis trimmed the Sweet Water lead to six with the point after.

The ‘Dogs gave Mobile Christian little time to celebrate, however, bouncing back on the next possession to grab a 20-7 lead on R.J. Rodgers’ 19-yard run. The key play in the drive was a 37-yard Eric Jenkins rush to the Leopard 18.

On the next series Mobile Christian once again moved the ball effectively, but a Tyler Echols fumble recovery at the SWHS 19 ended the threat and set up the Bulldogs’ final score of the first half – a four-yard Jenkins run with four ticks left on the clock.

“They showed us a couple of formations we hadn’t seen,” said Thompson of Mobile Christian’s first half success moving the ball. “They had a good game plan.”

The coach credited his own team’s first half offensive prowess to “a good week of practice” and good execution.

Sweet Water tacked on three scores in the third period on runs of 46, 31 and 53 yards by Jenkins, Rodgers and Greene, respectively. With the outcome settled and the hour getting late – a 90-minute weather delay postponed the opening kickoff until 8:30 p.m. – both teams agreed to a shortened fourth period. The only score came on a 43-yard run by Mobile Christian’s Troy Young.

Jenkins led the Bulldog rushers with 182 yards on 11 carries. Through the air, Davis was 3-of-5 for 87 yards.

Sweet Water is now 2-1 overall and 2-0 in Region play.