Sweet Water clinches first-round home game with win over Flomaton

(Photo by Johnny Autery) Sweet Water's Tyler Echols blocks a punt against Flomaton Friday.

(Photo by Johnny Autery)
Sweet Water’s Tyler Echols blocks a punt against Flomaton Friday.

SWEET WATER – Flomaton High School scored the game’s first six points and last six points, but Sweet Water High reeled off 38 unanswered in between, as the Bulldogs clinched a first-round playoff home game with a 38-12 win Friday night.

“It’s huge, getting to play at home in the first round,” said Sweet Water head coach Pat Thompson. “The kids get to play in front of a home crowd and they don’t have to get on a bus and travel. It really helps to play the first one at home.”

Sweet Water and Flomaton entered the contest with No. 2 spot in Class 2A, Region 1 on the line, and the visiting Hurricanes quickly got the ‘Dawgs attention. On the first play from scrimmage, Flomaton’s Terrell Flavors took a screen pass and raced 87 yards to the SWHS 2. After an offsides penalty, Flomaton’s Malik Grace scored from the 1. The kick was blocked, leaving Flomaton up 6-0.

R.J. Rodgers breaks into the open during a run Friday night against Flomaton.

R.J. Rodgers breaks into the open during a run Friday night against Flomaton.

Sweet Water wasted no time seizing the momentum, though. After a failed onside kick attempt, Sweet Water marched 54 yards and took the lead midway through the first on a Xavier McIntosh none-yard run and Deshawn Blanks’ extra point. A key play in the drive was a fourth-and-five conversion at the 31, when Sweet Water’s Eric Jenkins gained just enough yardage to move the chains.

The Bulldogs added to the lead late in the first when Blanks nailed a 28-yard field goal.

In the second, special teams played a key role in Sweet Water pulling away from the Hurricanes, when Tyler Echols blocked a Flomaton punt and Jonah Smith scooped up the loose ball and scored with 10:59 left before the half. Blanks added the PAT to increase Sweet Water’s lead to 17-6.

Late in the second, Sweet Water again marched deep into Hurricane territory. McIntosh converted a fourth-and-four with a 10-yard carry from the 19, and moments later Keldric Greene scored to push SWHS’ lead to 24-6 at the break.

Sweet Water added a score in the third when McIntosh rambled 36 yards, and another touchdown in the fourth on a 10-yard Jaylin Johnson run.

On the ensuing kickoff, Flomaton’s Flavors took it 85 yards for the score to close out the night’s scoring. The try for two failed.

“We were subbing heavily on that kickoff return, and we got out of our lanes and their young man made a great return,” Thompson said of the Flomaton touchdown. “But other than that our special teams played very well. We had the blocked punt for a score and kicked a field goal for the first time in five or six years. I though we played well overall tonight,” the coach continued. “Our offensive line blocked very well and our defensive line controlled the line of scrimmage too.”

Sweet Water closes out its Region slate at 6-1, and is 7-2 overall. The ‘Dawgs finish the regular season next Friday at Maplesville. “It will be a tough one,” Thompson said of the matchup with the perennial 1A power. “It should be a great atmosphere on Halloween night.”

The playoffs begin in two weeks. “We’ll start preparing a little this week,” said the coach. “We’ll start looking at some film.”