Sweet Water faces stiff Washington County test

Sweet Water running Jakoby Aldridge leaps over Flomaton defensive lineman John Anderson. (Johhny Autery / for The West Alabama Watchman)

Stacy Luker knows all too well the challenge that awaits his team Friday night when Washington County visits Sweet Water for a key Class 2A, Region 1 contest.

“They’re just so athletic and skilled on both sides of the ball. Offensively, they can score on any play. They’ve got about three guys that they run in the backfield. They’ve got a quarterback that really triggers the whole thing,” Luker, who began his head coaching career at Washington County in 1995 said of the Bulldogs that make their home in Chatom. “Defensively, they turn around and have a great group of linebackers that really run to the ball. They’re just a great football team.”

Washington County enters the contest at 6-0, having scarcely found itself in a close game in 2012 while outscoring opponents a combined total of 218-75.

“I don’t know if anybody has really challenged them. Their first game was 14-8 against Hillcrest-Evergreen, but they had four turnovers in that game I think,” Luker said. “They’ve pretty much controlled games the whole way. I think the only time they trailed the whole year was 2-0 against Hillcrest early in that game. They’ve been close at halftime but pulled away in the third and fourth quarters.”

Since the close call against Hillcrest-Evergreen in the first week of the season, Washington County has averaged 40.8 points per contest while allowing more than 16 points only once.

“They are Spread and I (formations) about 50-50. They like to run the football, but they will throw it whenever they need to or want to,” Luker said. “Defensively, they line up in a 4-3 and move those guys around a little bit. It looks like they try to just let their linebackers run and make a lot of plays when they can.”

Friday’s contest marks the first meeting between the teams since 2003, a game Washington County won 48-20. Friday will be only the 10th meeting all time between the schools, which first played one another in 1945. Washington County leads the lifetime series 8-1.

The contest is also the first in three-week series that will determine the Region 1 winner as the three remaining teams yet to suffer a region loss will essentially play a round robin format between Oct. 12 and Oct. 26.

After Sweet Water and Washington County face off Friday night, WCHS will face undefeated Mobile Christian Oct. 19. Mobile Christian will then travel to Sweet Water Oct. 26.

“I know there is some darn good football left ahead of us at 5-1. Region wise, there will be a lot to be determined and a lot of shakeup over the next two or three weeks,” Luker said. “On our schedule left to play, three out of the four teams are undefeated. We’re about to be in a tough run of games. We wouldn’t have it any other way.”