Powerful Dawg ground game too much for Flomaton

SWEET WATER – Sweet Water High School rolled up more than 200 yards rushing each half in a 55-13 dismantling of Flomaton at Nolan Atkins Stadium Friday night, setting the stage for a Region 1 showdown against Washington County in Chatom next week.

Both Sweet Water and Washington County are undefeated in Region play. Adding to the drama will be the backdrop of last year’s Sweet Water-Washington County series. The Bulldogs won a classic regular season match-up before falling to Washington County by eight points in a state playoff semi-final shootout.

“We know they have great athletes,” Sweet Water head coach Stacy Luker said of Washington County. “They are very well coached, and they run pretty much the same style on both sides of the ball that they did last year. It will be a great challenge for us.”

Jakoby Aldridge (2) leads Demarcus Gamble (5) for big yards as the Dawgs blow away   the Hurricanes 55-13

Jakoby Aldridge (2) leads Demarcus Gamble (5) for big yards as the Dawgs blow away
the Hurricanes 55-13

Friday night’s warm-up against Flomaton was not without a moment of anxiety for Bulldog faithful. Flomaton took the opening kickoff and moved convincingly downfield on a 63-yard scoring drive, and grabbed a quick 7-0 lead on Levi Carden’s nine-yard run and Trey Weekes’ extra point.

“We knew Flomaton would be good on offense,” said Luker. “They run well and block well. So we weren’t caught off guard, but we were disappointed in the way we played on that first drive.”

Sweet Water immediately responded with a scoring drive of its own – the first of eight straight possessions that turned into Bulldog points. Taking the ball at the 20, Sweet Water marched 80 yards to tie the score on a five-yard Jakoby Aldridge touchdown run. Tristian Weatherly kicked the PAT to tie tie the score at 7-7. A key play in the drive was Demarcus Gamble’s 26-yard run to the Hurricane 20.

The two opening drives consumed all but 22 seconds of the first quarter.

SWHS held Flomaton on the next series, and took over at its own 33 after a Hurricane punt. The Dawgs drove to the FHS 27, where on fourth-and-six Luker broke out the rarely-used Wildcat formation. Taking the snap, runningback Daniel Sewell faked a pass and then ran to the 15 for a first down. Two plays later, Aldridge punched it in from the 12. The kick was wide left, leaving the score 13-7.

Sweet Water widened the margin to 20-7 at the half on Sewell’s 42-yard run and Weatherly’s kick with 1:50 to play in the second.

In the third quarter, Sweet Water continued its relentless ground attack, chalking up scores on Aldridge runs of 24 and six yards, with a Branson Davis quarterback sneak  for a touchdown squeezed in between. The Davis score was set up by a beautiful pass from the sophomore quarterback to Will Huckabee – a play that covered 36 yards.

In the fourth, the Bulldogs scored on a touchdown runs of 70 and 18 yards by backup Eric Jenkins. Flomaton’s lone score of the second half came on a four-yard Carden run with 7:47 to play.

Paul Weatherly (20) blocks as the Bulldogs unleash their relentless ground attack.

Paul Weatherly (20) blocks as the Bulldogs unleash their relentless ground attack.

“We know we’ve got to ride our backs and lean on our offensive line,” said Luker. “That’s who we are. But when you get down to it, you’ve got to win with defense.”

For the game, Aldridge led all rushers with 173 yards on 17 carries. Sewell added 114 yards on eight attempts, while Jenkins had 101 yards on six carries and Gamble picked up a bruising 61 yards on 10 rushes.

Davis’ lone pass attempt of the evening resulted in the 36-yard completion to Huckabee.

Sweet Water is now 4-2 on the year, and 4-0 in Region play.