Sweet Water set for rematch with Washington County

Sweet Water RB Deion Waters powers his way for
TD against Washington County during the teams’ Oct. 12 meeting.

Sweet Water (11-2) pulled out a 20-6 victory over Washington County (12-1) Oct. 12 with the help of a methodical attack that drained the clock and kept the WCHS offense on the sidelines.

Paramount to the win for Sweet Water was a drive that took more than 20 plays to suck more than 12 minutes of game time off the clock and sound the proverbial death knell for Washington County’s region championship hopes.

Friday night, Sweet Water will need to find a way to beat Washington County again as it looks to punch its ticket to the Class 2A title game next Friday in Auburn.

“They just challenge us so much physically and athletically. I think we have to play just a real, tough, physical football game to be able to beat them. My opinion of how good they are definitely hasn’t changed, because they’ve got a good football team,” Sweet Water head coach Stacy Luker said of the WCHS Bulldogs that will come to call at Nolan Atkins Stadium Friday night.

Luker understands how imposing and athletic Washington County is. Even though his team controlled the ball for an entire quarter at one interval during the October rendezvous, Sweet Water only outgained Washington County 271 yards to 204.

“They have so many athletes. Offensively, they’ve got so many weapons that they really spread the field with and do a good job of facilitating the ball to,” Luker said. “They’ve got a really good football team.”

Washington County’s road to Friday’s rematch saw the Bulldogs trounce Houston Academy 42-0 at home before hitting the road for a 34-7 win over Luverne. WCHS returned home last week for a 33-12 dispatching of Mobile Christian.

In total, Washington County has outscored opponents 426-148 this season and has tallied its 12 wins with two separate six-game winning streaks.

Conversely, Sweet Water has paved its road to a semi-final rematch with Washington County by hanging 62 points on Samson in the first round, 55 on Aliceville in round two and 55 on Lamar County in the quarterfinals.

“I think last week we had another week to get healthy. Only having to play your starters for a half, you’re limiting hits on guys and you’re keeping them healthy, and that’s important this time of year,” Luker said. “Our starting running backs haven’t carried the ball in the second half yet in the playoffs.”

The decisive nature of Sweet Water’s postseason success thus far will, theoretically, have the Bulldogs entering Friday night’s matchup with fresh legs. That could be key for a team that hangs its hat on a ground game that has amassed 4,300 rushing yards through 13 games thus far.

Sweet Water and Washington County are scheduled to kick off Friday night at 7 p.m.