Dawgs looking for first win over SCHS in 48 years

SWEET WATER — Stacy Luker is in playoff mode. Since his Bulldogs made the jump to Class 2A this season, every week has been more intense than the previous.


Sweet Water sits tied for first place in Class 2A, Region 1 with Washington County and Mobile Christian. However, the Bulldogs must travel to face a Southern Choctaw squad whose 0-2 region record defies the talent it possesses.

“They are a lot like us. They’re just going to run at you. They’re going to run the football and try to play great defense. That’s always been what they’ve done,” Luker said. “We told our kids when you play Southern Choctaw, you get a very physical team, you get great athletes and you gets guys that can run for 48 minutes.”

The Indians enter the contest after playing competitively against Mobile Christian and Washington County, having shown enough that Luker is wary of what Southern Choctaw can do when finds its rhythm.

“If we can beat them tomorrow night, they’re 0-3 in the region. But they could come back and run the table and be third in the region. They are very capable of doing that,” Luker said. “They’ve been right there the last two weeks and it’s really a scary, scary thing for me as a coach because it is going to be a tough team in a tough environment. They are a lot like us. They play tough. They’ve got a lot of pride in their school and their team.”

Sweet Water finds itself in an interesting region with enough depth from top to bottom that virtually any team could emerge as region champion and be a threat in the state playoffs. That’s why Luker understands that getting a seat at the table may be just as tough of a task as winning the region this season.

“I feel like our region could run the table in the first round, legitimately run the table. You just want to get your foot in the door,” Luker said. “A win might actually get our foot in the door a little bit. It won’t clinch anything by any means, but it puts us on the way.”

While Luker places a great deal of stock in Friday’s Southern Choctaw challenge, he also understands that the Indians covet a victory as much as his Bulldogs do.

“I know the stock they’re putting on it is that a win puts them right back in things,” Luker said. “It makes for some good preparation on our part. I hope our kids can be ready to play every week.”

If the Bulldogs are able to topple Southern Choctaw Friday, it would be the first time Sweet Water has bested the Indians since Oct. 16, 1964, the night Sweet Water downed SCHS 14-6 under the tutelage of Judson Brown.

After Brown’s squad lost to Southern Choctaw in 1965, the squads did not meet again until 2000. The last time the two teams met, SCHS defeated Sweet Water 40-14 in 2001.

Given the lack of recent history between the teams, Luker said his team is able to prepare for Southern Choctaw with no preconceived notions, something he sees as a distinct positive for his squad.

“Part of me likes it because I don’t think our kids get too high or too low. They really have no opinion of them formulated,” Luker said. “They are not as familiar with Southern Choctaw as I am. I played them in their heyday when I was coaching at Thomasville.”

Incidentally, Luker last faced Southern Choctaw Sept. 7, 2001. That night, his Tiger defeated the Indians 15-6. Luker was 2-3 against Southern Choctaw during his five years at the helm of the Thomasville program.