Sweet Water advances to quarterfinals for eighth straight year

(Photo by Johnny Autery) SW Rb Daniel Sewell makes a move on G.W. Long's No. 2 Kennon Casey, as the Bulldogs  crush the Rebels 34-3.

(Photo by Johnny Autery)
SW Rb Daniel Sewell makes a move on G.W. Long’s No. 2 Kennon Casey, as the Bulldogs crush the Rebels 34-3.

SWEET WATER – Three big plays – one in each phase of the game – allowed Sweet Water High School to take a 21-3 halftime lead and the Bulldogs never looked back, defeating the G.W. Long Rebels 34-3 in second-round Class 2A playoff action Friday night.

Offense took center stage – for one play – on the game’s first series. On first down Bulldog tailback Jakoby Aldridge took the handoff and swept left untouched for the 54-yard score. Tristian Weatherly booted the extra point to give Sweet Water a quick 7-0 lead.

On the next series, it was special teams’ turn to shine. When the Sweet Water drive stalled at midfield, Demarcus Gamble took the short snap from punt formation and rambled 29 yards to the Rebel 16. From there, it was a steady diet of Gamble between the tackles, and he put SWHS up 14-0 on a 3-yard run late in the first.

After an impressive G.W. Long drive netted a 26-yard Garrett Sanders field goal to cut Sweet Water’s lead to 14-3, defense took its turn in the spotlight. On the Rebels’ next possession, Bulldog defensive back Justin Dunning stepped in front of a screen pass and returned the pick 15 yards for the score. Weatherly made it 21-3 with the PAT.

(Photo by Johnny Autery) No. 62 Deshon Kilpatrick brings down Rebels TE Travis Tharp, as the Bulldog's  stingy defense allows a first half field on route to a 34-3 victory

(Photo by Johnny Autery)
No. 62 Deshon Kilpatrick brings down Rebels TE Travis Tharp, as the Bulldog’s stingy defense allows a first half field on route to a 34-3 victory

“We were effective in all phases in the first half,” said Sweet Water head coach Stacy Luker, who praised his defense in particular. “G.W. Long put a good little drive together there in the first half and got inside our 5, but our defense held them to a field goal and then we had the interception right after that. I am very pleased with the way our defense played tonight.”

Coming out of halftime leading 21-3, Sweet Water quickly forced a G.W. Long punt, and promptly marched 46 yards for the score, which came on a 2-yard Gamble run on 4th-and-goal.

The Bulldogs’ final points of the evening came midway through the fourth quarter on a 14-yard Aldridge run.

The win sets up a trip to Luverne – a winner over Oakman Friday – in next week’s third round clash.

“I am very proud for this program,” said Luker. “This is our eighth straight year to make the quarterfinals. I’m happy for our players and our fans.”

Sweet Water advances to 9-3 on the season with the victory over G.W. Long.

Against the Rebels, Aldridge led the way with 153 yards rushing on 18 carries. Gamble added 79 yards on 14 attempts and Daniel Sewell mustered 40 yards on only two rushes.

Quarterback Branson Davis completed his only pass of the night, an 8-yard connection to Gamble. Sewell attempted one pass, which fell incomplete.

Overall, Sweet Water’s offense ground out 279 yards on the night.