Offense, special teams lift Linden over Washington County

09-29-17 — Linden, Ala. — Linden’s Isaiah Scott (1) returns a punt 65 yards for a touchdown late in Friday night’s game against Washington County. The Patriots went on to win by a final score of 49-34. (WAW | Stewart Gwin)

LINDEN — The Bulldogs of Washington County set the tone early in the opening drive Friday night against Linden as a high snap sailed over the punter and through the back of the end zone in a fourth-and-long situation, giving Linden the early 2-0 lead.

Once ahead, the Patriots never looked back, upending the Bulldogs 49-34.

After an early start, the Pats went on to return the ensuing free kick 60 yards, making it 9-0 with only 2:35 off the clock.

“It was nice for us to get ahead quick, but what I stressed to my guys is that we couldn’t let up,” said first-year Linden head coach Demetrice Jackson.

Washington County answered with a Cade Glass quarterback sneak from a yard out, making it 9-7 at the 7:44 mark.

Douglas Johnson would give the Pats their next score on a 3-yard rush. A failed PAT made it 15-6 with 3:46 to play in the opening period.

Senior Isaiah Scott then pulled in a 54-yard pass from Graderius Brown, giving Linden a solid 21-6 lead with only 36 seconds remaining in the first quarter.

Not to be outdone, the ‘Dawgs found the end zone from 6 yards out and successfully converted a two-point conversion, making it 21-14 in the second quarter.

An ensuing onside kick attempt recovered by Linden gave the good guys the ball at their own 36.

A series of turnovers would see Linden’s Brown fumble, giving Washington County the ball on their own 46. Linden’s Markell Williams then intercepted a Glass toss on the ‘Dawgs 41-yard line. Driving again, Linden fumbled and Washington County recovered on their own 32, but would not find their way to six as Timothy Thurman went up to intercept a pass on the Pats’ own 42-yard line.

A fourth-and-2 attempt by Linden failed and gave WCHS possession on the 50-yard line.

09-29-17 — Linden, Ala. — Linden’s Timothy Thurman Jr., (24) looks for running room in Friday night’s game against Washington County. (WAW | Stewart Gwin)

Glass once again found the end zone from a yard out, tying it up at 21 all with 2:23 to play in the opening half, but the Pats would have none of that. Kevin Green took it 55 yards for a touchdown, and with a successful PAT, the Patriots went to the locker room with a 7-point lead at 28-21.

“We wanted to come out tonight and put together a good showing in all three phases of the game—offense, defense, and special teams. I feel like we were able to do that,” said Jackson.

Linden took the opening kick of the second half but came up empty-handed, and allowing Washington County to again tie the game at 28 when Glass scored on a 17-yard run.

Three minutes later, a 30-yard pass from Brown to Scott on a 4th-and-one from the 30 put the Pats back on top at 34-28.

The final period saw Linden score twice, once on a 7-yard rush from Brown, and again on a 65-yard punt return by Scott.

Washington County rounded out scoring for the night on a 14-yard touchdown run, finalizing the game at 49-34.

“I think our kids were up for the competition tonight, especially after we lost last week to Millry,” said Jackson.

Linden (3-2, 2-1) travels to face region foe Sweet Water (3-1, 3-0) next Friday.

“We’ll enjoy this one tonight, but it’s back to work for us on Monday,” said Jackson.

‘Dawgs, Panthers hash out differences in 1A region contest

09-09-16 -- Dixons Mills, Ala. -- Sweet Water's Jaylin Johnson (23) leaps over Marengo's Clarence Tolbert (51) in Friday's game at Marengo High School in Dixons Mills, Ala.  Sweet Water won the Class 1A Region 1 battle, 33-22. (WAW | Stewart Gwin)

09-09-16 — Dixons Mills, Ala. — Sweet Water’s Jaylin Johnson (23) leaps over Marengo’s Clarence Tolbert (51) in Friday’s game at Marengo High School in Dixons Mills, Ala. Sweet Water won the Class 1A Region 1 battle, 33-22. (WAW | Stewart Gwin)

It was everything you’d expect out of a Class 1A Region 1 rivalry Friday night when the Sweet Water Bulldogs made the short trip down to Dixons Mills to take on the Panthers of Marengo High School.

“That was a great game tonight, you played hard, but we’ve got more work to do,” Marengo head coach Eberne Myrthil told his Panthers following the 33-22 loss. “Never again. Never again. You don’t want to feel this way again, and neither do I. You’ve got to play from point A to point B”

Sweet Water would find the end zone first in the match-up when quarterback Jonah Smith connected with Will Huckabee for a 23-yard touchdown reception. The PAT off the foot of Smith put the ‘Dawgs up 7-0 with 3:07 to go in the first period of play.

The Panthers were quick to answer, setting the tone for the knock-down, drag-out game that would ensue when Quindaris Ausborne took the kickoff 86 yards. A two-point conversion pass from quarterback Cordarius Pritchett to Alphonzo Lewis Jr., was successful, giving the Panthers the edge, 8-6.

Marengo extended the lead at the 7:14 mark of the second quarter when Ausborne found Pritchett open for an 18-yard touchdown pass. A failed two-point conversion left the score at 14-7.

The Bulldogs tied it up heading into the half when Smith hit Trent Sams for a 78-yard touchdown reception with 5:43 to play. At the break, both teams were tied at 14.

Following the half, the ‘Dawgs put the pedal to the floor and never looked back.

09-09-16 -- Dixons Mills, Ala. -- Sweet Water's Jacory Brown (40) is wrapped up in a pile as Marengo's Clarence Tolbert (51) attempts to tackle him in Friday's game at Marengo High School in Dixons Mills, Ala.  Sweet Water won the Class 1A Region 1 battle, 33-22. (WAW | Stewart Gwin)

09-09-16 — Dixons Mills, Ala. — Sweet Water’s Jacory Brown (40) is wrapped up in a pile as Marengo’s Clarence Tolbert (51) attempts to tackle him in Friday’s game at Marengo High School in Dixons Mills, Ala. Sweet Water won the Class 1A Region 1 battle, 33-22. (WAW | Stewart Gwin)

After taking the kick to open second half play, Sweet Water punctuated a 4:14 drive when Shamar Lewis crossed the line from 6 yards out. The Smith PAT was no good, and with the Bulldogs on top 20-14, the Panthers would not be able to regain the lead for the remainder of the contest.

Sweet Water would go on to score twice in the fourth quarter, once on a 9-yard Smith run, and again on a Jaylin Johnson run, eventually extending the lead to 33-14.

Marengo found the end zone once more late in the fourth when Pritchett linked up with Christion Wright, Sr. Wright fumbled, but his own Clarence Tolbert was able to recover the fumble and score. A two-point pass from Pritchett to Roosevelt Thompson rounded out scoring for the night, leading to a final of 33-22.

“Too many mistakes tonight,” said Myrthil. “And at the end of the day, we were still in the game, but you can’t commit that many mistakes and beat a good team like Sweet Water.”

“This was a big region win for us,” said Sweet Water head coach Pat Thompson. “This is us getting back to Sweet Water football.”

The ‘Dawgs racked up 423 yards of offense in 61 plays while Marengo put up 165 yards in 35 plays. Of those 423 yards, 134 yards came through the air with 289 on the ground. Marengo relied more heavily on the pass game, with 125 yards coming through the air and 40 on the ground.

Sweet Water had 20 first downs to Marengo’s 11.

“We had too many turnovers to win a game like this,” said Myrthil.

Marengo committed four turnovers, two coming by way of interceptions and two on lost fumbles.

Sweet Water’s Smith went 5 of 9 on the night with two touchdowns, one interception, and rushed eight times for 57 yards and one touchdown.

Shamar Lewis lead the ground game for the ‘Dawgs with 109 yards on 13 carries and one touchdown, while Jaylin Johnson touched the ball 15 times for 94 yards and a touchdown.

Marengo’s Pritchett completed 9 of 14 attempts for 107 yards and two interceptions.

Alphonzo Lewis Jr., pulled in four receptions for 53 yards while Thompson lead Panther rushers with 28 yards on five carries.

“We’re just working on Sweet Water, that’s all we’re worried about,” said Thompson of the upcoming week of preparation for J.F. Shields. “This was a big confidence builder for our team and we’ll take that into next week with us when we play Shields.”

“This isn’t the same Marengo team that people were used to four or five years ago,” said Myrthil. “These guys want to win, and they have the talent to do it.”

With the win, Sweet Water (2-1, 2-0) will host J.F Shields next week while the Panthers (2-1, 1-1) will face another region foe as they travel to A.L. Johnson.

Thomasville strikes early, finishes strong to beat ‘Dawgs

Bulldogs defense knocks the ball free in action against the Tigers of Thomasville. (Photo by Johnny Autery)

Bulldogs defense knocks the ball free in action against the Tigers of
Thomasville. (Photo by Johnny Autery)

By JEREMY SELLERS

SWEET WATER—While many high school teams were playing week one jamborees, the Sweet Water Bulldogs and Thomasville Tigers got their season underway by renewing their regular season rivalry.

Thomasville proved to not have much trouble as they went on to knock off the Bulldogs 34-6 on a rainy night at Nolan Atkins Stadium.

“They beat us in every aspect of the game,” Coach Pat Thompson said following the loss.

Thomasville got on the board early when Byran Hosea punched it in from nine yards out. The extra point by Darrion Nevils was good to give the Tigers the early 7-0 advantage.

At the 5:58 mark in the first quarter, the Tigers struck for the second time in the first quarter. Quarterback Chadwick Bryant found Hosea for a 24-yard hookup. Nevils nailed his second extra point of the game to give Thomasville a 14-0 lead.

With just under 30 seconds left in the first quarter, Thomasville tacked on to their lead. Jacquez Ausbon scored from eight yards out and Nevils hit his third extra point to extend the lead to 21-0.

Sweet Water RB Eric Jenkins (21) streaks to the outside for 1st down yardage against Thomasville (Photo by Johnny Autery)

Sweet Water RB Eric Jenkins (21) streaks to the outside for 1st down yardage against Thomasville (Photo by Johnny Autery)

Sweet Water got on the board at the 10:59 mark in the second quarter when Branson Davis connected with Will Huckabee for a 23 yard touchdown play on 4th down and six. The extra point failed, leaving the score at 21-6 in favor of Thomasville.

Hosea added his third touchdown of the game for Thomasville on a 28 yard run up the middle at the 5:09 mark in the second quarter. Nevils converted his fourth extra point of the game to give Thomasville their biggest lead of the game at 28-6.

The Tigers added one more score in the second half to give them a 34-6 lead at the 5:40 mark in the third quarter. Hosea was the ball carrier on the two yard punch in.

“We will come back out Monday and practice hard,” Thompson said. “We have to get ready for region play and we have a lot of work to do.”

Sweet Water (0-1, 0-0) has a bye week next week before hosting St. Luke’s the following week. Thomasville (1-0, 0-0) will play host to Coach Stacy Luker and the Demopolis Tigers.