Sweet Water scores in closing minutes to move to state title game

(Photo by Johnny Autery)
With 3:31 to play, Sasha Smith celebrates the go-ahead touchdown catch that proved to be the game winner.

Sweet Water is headed back to the Class 1A state championship for the first time since 2010 after beating Wadley 27-21 in a wild one Friday night. The teams combined for 21 points in the fourth quarter that saw three lead changes.

(Photo by Johnny Autery)
Trent Sams pins the ball against his helmet to help secure a touchdown catch in the first half against Wadley.

Sweet Water trailed 14-13 to open the frame with Wadley threatening again. With 10:38 to go in the game, Wadley ran the ball to the Sweet Water 29 before Shamar Lewis scooped a fumble and returned it 71 yards for a touchdown and the 19-14 lead.

Undaunted, Wadley fired right back as Trevor Cameron ran 18 yards for a touchdown and the 21-19 lead. The turning point for the Bulldogs came when Jonah Smith hit his younger brother Sasha for a 27-yard touchdown pass on a throw that saw the Sweet Water receiver go over the top and the take the ball away from a Wadley defensive back. Lewis punched in the conversion run for the 27-21 advantage with 3:31 to play.

Wadley opened the scoring with 8:20 left in the first quarter as Jamichael Angel scored from a yard out. The Bulldogs needed only 61 seconds to tie it when Jonah Smith hit Braylone Kidd for a 78-yard touchdown strike.

(Photo by Johnny Autery)
Sweet Water quarterback Jonah Smith threw for 240 yards and three touchdowns in the Bulldogs’ semifinal win over Wadley.

“He did great tonight. He made some big throws when he had to,” Sweet Water head coach Pat Thompson said of his quarterback. “Of course our receivers made some great catches.”

Sweet Water took the lead with 1:25 left in the opening half as Jonah Smith found Trent Sams for a 36-yard touchdown and the 13-7 advantage. The lead was short-lived as Wadley’s Connor Fordham hit Jonathan Poole for a 44-yard scoring pass and the 14-13 lead.

The final marks the second time in as many seasons that the Bulldogs have ended Wadley’s season. Sweet Water won the second round meeting between the two schools 21-20 in 2016.

Friday’s game saw a feisty Wadley defense commit to limiting the Sweet Water ground game. SWHS managed 148 yards on 38 carries. Wadley countered with 158 yards on 38 carries.

“They’re linebackers were very active. We couldn’t get to their linebackers to block them enough. They did a few things that gave us some trouble, but our passes were there,” Thompson said. “There were nine definitely in the box and the 10th player was sitting six or eight yards over the top of our tight end. They were going to make us throw to beat them. They had seen us run over the last couple of weeks and do what we do.”

Sweet Water found its greatest offensive success in the passing game. Jonah Smith completed 11 of 18 passes for 240 yards and three touchdowns.

Sweet Water advances to the Class 1A state championship Thursday at 3 p.m. at Bryant-Denny Stadium in Tuscaloosa where it will play Pickens County.

AHSAA 1A re-classification shifts Marengo County teams

(Photo by Johnny Autery)
RB Jacory Brown finds a opening and breaks a long run.

The latest round of AHSAA re-classification will draw a line clear across Marengo County for the next two years. The state’s governing body for high school athletics released its new groupings Thursday morning, a plan that divides the four Class 1A member schools located in Marengo County.

Sweet Water and Marengo High will remain in Region 1, where they resided for each of the last two seasons. Joining them in that group will be Fruitdale, McIntosh, Millry, J.F. Shields and St. Luke’s.

11-9-17 — Dixon Mills, Ala. — Marengo High QB Quandaris Ausbon. (WAW | Stewart Gwin)

Linden and A.L. Johnson each move to Region 3 where they will compete with the likes of Ellwood Christian, Francis Marion, Holy Spirit, Isabella, Keith, and Maplesville.

Perhaps most notable for Class 1A is the fact that Class 2A power Elba has moved down a classification. Elba is now a member of Region 2 along with mainstays Brantley and Georgiana.

The new football groupings, surprisingly, do not result in drastically different basketball areas for all four Class 1A schools in Marengo County. Linden, Marengo, Sweet Water, A.L. Johnson and Keith will all comprise Area 4.

Linden and Sweet Water volleyball will both compete in Area 4 with Keith and Ellwood Christian. Sweet Water baseball will be in Area 4 along with Ellwood Christian and Keith. Linden track moves to Section 2. Marengo and Sweet Water track will each be Section 1.

The new region alignment for Class 1A football appears below in its entirety.

REGION 1 REGION 2
Fruitdale Brantley
Marengo Elba
McIntosh Florala
Millry Georgiana
J.F. Shields Kinston
St. Luke’s McKenzie
Sweet Water Pleasant Home
Red Level
REGION 3 REGION 4
Ellwood Christian Autaugaville
Francis Marion Billingsley
Holy Spirit Lanett
Isabella Loachapoka
A.L. Johnson Notasulga
Keith Verbena
Linden Wadley
Maplesville
REGION 5 REGION 6
Appalachian Berry
Donoho Brilliant
Ragland Hubbertville
Spring Garden Lynn
Talladega County Central Marion County
Victory Christian Meek
Winterboro Pickens County
South Lamar
REGION 7 REGION 8
Coosa Christian Cherokee
Decatur Heritage Hackleburg
Falkville Mars Hill
Gaylesville Phillips
R.A. Hubbard Shoals Christian
Valley Head Vina
Woodville Waterloo

 

Sweet Water rolls over Brantley

(Photo by Johnny Autery)
Junior Jah’Darius McIntosh drags down Brantley RB Michael Booker (25) for a loss.

Sweet Water had little trouble dispatching of Brantley Friday night on the way to a 41-13 victory in the second round of the AHSAA, Class 1A playoffs.

Shamar Lewis wasted no time announcing the Bulldogs’ intentions as he returned the opening kickoff 89 yards for a touchdown.

(Photo by Johnny Autery)
Purple Dawg Jaylon Williamson (44) splits two defenders and picks up a first down.

Jaylon Williamson scored the game’s first offensive touchdown when he punched it in from 15 yards out for a 14-0 lead.

Jacory Brown continued to pour it on with five seconds left in the first quarter as he scored on a 5-yard run to push the lead to 20-0.

Brantley looked to get off the deck with 10:22 remaining in the second quarter when Parker Driggers connected with Adrian Person for an 11-yard touchdown strike to narrow the gap to 20-7.

Jonah Smith followed with a touchdown toss of his own, hitting Chance Broussard for a 21-yard score to move the Sweet Water lead to 27-7.

Mack Wise broke a 27-yard touchdown run with 3:26 left in the opening half to narrow Brantley’s deficit to 27-13.

(Photo by Johnny Autery)
SW WR Chastian Washington (22) cradles the ball and makes the catch despite the efforts Brantley DB Jacob Odom (9)

Just before intermission fell in Nolan Atkins Stadium, Smith hit his younger brother Sasha Smith for a 12-yard touchdown pass and the 34-13 lead. The Sweet Water signal caller found the end zone one more time when he connected with Trent Sams for a 12-yard passing touchdown in the fourth quarter.

Smith finished 6 of 10 throwing for 90 yards and three touchdowns. Lewis led the ground game with 102 yards on 12 carries. Brown added 67 yards on 17 carries. Kaleb Greene intercepted a pass for the Sweet Water defense.

Sweet Water (10-1) hosts reigning state champion Maplesville next Friday night in the Class 1A quarterfinals.

Sweet Water handles Notasulga for first round win

(Photo by Johnny Autery)
RB Jacory Brown finds a opening and breaks a long run against the Blue Devils.

It may be playoff time but it was certainly business as usual for Sweet Water Friday night as they ran over Notasulga 54-0 to advance to the AHSAA Class 1A second round. The Bulldogs rushed to a 34-0 lead by halftime and shifted into cruise control down the stretch to ice the win in the first ever meeting between the two schools.

(Photo by Johnny Autery)
A trio of Bulldog defenders lead by Jaylon Williamson halt the forward progress of the Blue Devils RB.

Shamar Lewis opened the scoring with a 5-yard touchdown run with 6:34 remaining in the first quarter. Jacory Brown added a 13-yard run with 57 seconds remaining in the quarter to move the lead to 14-0. Lewis broke a 41-yard scoring run with 10:49 left in the second quarter to make it 20-0. JahDarius McIntosh then intercepted a pass and returned it for a score 14 seconds later to officially move the game into blowout territory. Brown added another touchdown run from a yard out with 4:13 left in the opening half.

Jaylon Williamson, Kaleb Greene and Jaylin Dixon each added a rushing touchdown in the second half to set the final margin.

Sweet Water totaled 386 yards of total offense on 58 plays with 371 of those yards coming on the ground. Conversely, the Bulldogs allowed only 48 yards of total offense to Notasulga.

Brown led the way with 102 yards rushing on 15 carries. Lewis added 97 yards on eight runs. McIntosh and Smith each intercepted a pass.

Sweet Water (9-1) is set to host Brantley (8-3) in the Class 1A second round next Friday.

(Photo by Johnny Autery)
Bulldog junior Chance Broussard runs for a first down after a pass reception.

Sweet Water strokes Class 2A New Brockton in regular season finale

Sweet Water largely controlled things throughout in its final regular season tune-up Friday, working its way to a 35-7 victory over Class 2A New Brockton.

Jacory Brown opened the scoring on a 2-yard touchdown run with 7:40 left in the first quarter. Brown scored on a 9-yard run less than three minutes later for the 14-0 lead.

The Bulldogs opened it up more on a 1-yard Jonah Smith touchdown run with 11:44 remaining in the second quarter.

Shamar Lewis broke a 32-yard touchdown run in the third quarter and Brown added a 3-yard scoring plunge in the fourth.

Sweet Water amassed 440 yards of total offense highlighted by a trio of 100-yard rushers. Brown ran for 112 yards and three scores. Jaylon Williamson had 103 yards while Lewis ran for 100 yards and a TD.

Sweet Water (8-1, 7-0) hosts Notasluga in the first round of the Class 1A playoffs next week.

Sweet Water plunders Pirates for perfect Region 1 record

Sweet Water put it away early Friday, scoring four first-quarter touchdowns on the way to a 63-0 win over Fruitdale. Jacory Brown scored on a pair of 7-yard touchdown runs before Shamar Lewis got in on the fun with a 30-yard scoring run. Jaylon Williamson added a 38-yard touchdown sprint to put the Bulldogs up 26-0 after one quarter of play.

Sasha Smith returned an interception for a touchdown early in the second quarter. The onslaught continued with a 46-yard Lewis touchdown run before Jaland Lewis-Horton ran it in from 35 yards out for a 47-0 halftime lead.

Walker Thompson added a 2-yard touchdown run and Devonte Blanks a 4-yard scoring plunge in the fourth quarter.

The Bulldogs outgained the Pirated 412-43. Smith and JahDarius McIntosh each picked off a pass for the Sweet Water defense.

Sweet Water (7-1, 7-0) wraps up a perfect run through Class 1A, Region 1. The Bulldogs travel to New Brockton next week to cap the regular season.

Sweet Water shellacks Millry to claim Region 1 crown

(Photo by Johnny Autery)
Bulldogs gang tackle a Wildcat running back in first half action.

Sweet Water head coach Pat Thompson has said all season long that he believes the winner of Class 1A, Region 1 would have to go unbeaten in region play. His Bulldogs took another big step toward that Friday night with a convincing 42-14 win over Millry.

Sweet Water scored 14 points in each of the game’s first three quarters to go up 42-7. Shamar Lewis scored on a 64-yard run in the opening frame before Jonah Smith hooked up with Chance Broussard on a 20-yard touchdown strike.

(Photo by Johnny Autery)
Sweet Water’s Jacory Brown (40) out races the Millry defense scoring a 2nd half TD.

Jaylon Williamson scored on a 10-yard run in the second quarter before Smith threw to Trent Sams for a 17-yard touchdown pass to go up 28-0 before halftime.

Smith threw his third touchdown pass with 8:10 to go in the third quarter when he found Jacory Brown for a 14-yard pitch-and-catch. Brown later ran it in from 26 yards out for the final Bulldog touchdown.

Sweet Water had 359 yards of total offense on only 36 plays. Smith went 4 of 7 passing for 73 yards and three touchdowns. Lewis ran is seven times for 125 yards. Williamson had 68 yards rushing while Brown had 62. Sams and Sasha Smith each intercepted a pass on defense for the Bulldogs.

Sweet Water (6-1, 6-0) clinches the Region 1 championship with the win. The Bulldogs wrap region play next week when they travel to Fruitdale.

The loss drops Millry to 4-4 overall and 4-2 in Region 1 play. That creates a three-way tie in the region after Linden beat Marengo 20-18 Friday night. All three teams are 4-2 in region play with Millry having beaten Linden, Linden having beaten Marengo, and Marengo having beaten Millry. Tie breakers will go into effect if all three teams win next week. Millry hosts A.L. Johnson. Linden hosts J.F. Shields. Marengo travels to McIntosh.

(Photo by Johnny Autery)
Senior Jaylon Williamson bursts through a porous Millry line for a big gainer.

Sweet Water throttles McIntosh for Region 1 win

(Photo by Johnny Autery)
Bulldogs Willie Lewis (57) and Deshawn Blanks (52) put heavy pressure on the Demon punter in first half action.

Sweet Water handled its business early Friday night, putting McIntosh squarely in the rearview mirror by halftime en route to a 48-0 Class 1A, Region 1 win.

Jacory Brown scored on a 6-yard run in the first quarter before Jaylon Williamson punched it in from a yard out on the final play of the frame for a 14-0 lead.

(Photo by Johnny Autery)
DB Trent Sams (1) races down the sideline after intercepting an errant McIntosh pass.

The second quarter turned into the Shamar Lewis show. The senior turned a Jonah Smith pass into a 64-yard touchdown to move it to 21-0. Lewis then ran for a 27-yard score. After Jonah Smith hit Sasha Smith for a 6-yard touchdown, Lewis got into the act on defense when he intercepted a pass and returned it for a touchdown.

Sweet Water added to the 41-0 halftime lead in the third when Jonah Smith threw to Braylone Kidd for a 56-yard touchdown.

The Bulldogs managed 326 yards of total offense on the night while allowing 61 to McIntosh.

Jonah Smith was 4-for-4 passing for 142 yards and three touchdowns. Lewis had 96 rushing yard and a TD on seven carries.

Trent Sams intercepted two passes while Lewis, Braiden Broussard and Antonio Sullivan each picked off one.

Sweet Water (5-1, 5-0) can clinch the Region 1 championship next Friday night when it hosts Millry.

(Photo by Johnny Autery)
OL Tony King (54) holds his block opening up running space for a Bulldog back.

Sweet Water ground game pounds Linden

(Photo by Johnny Autery)
A swarming Dawg “ D” pushes back Linden’s Graderius Brown.

Sweet Water relied almost exclusively on its traditionally powerful ground attack to wrest away a key Region 1 win over Linden Friday night. The Bulldogs scored 21 consecutive points over a stretch of 19:05 of game time to anchor a 42-20 victory.

With the game knotted at 14 late in the second quarter, Jonah Smith hit Chastian Washington for a 49-yard touchdown strike to give the Bulldogs the lead. Deshawn Blanks added the PAT to set the advantage at 21-14.

(Photo by Johnny Autery)
Bulldog Jacory Brown (40) leads Shamar Lewis (6) en route to a second half TD.

Shamar Lewis contributed an 11-yard touchdown run in the third quarter to move it to 28-14. Luke Davis then picked off a Patriot pass in the fourth quarter and returned it for a touchdown to move the lead to 35-14.

Kevin Green scored on a 7-yard run with 4:58 to play to narrow the deficit to 35-20 and keep Linden in the game. Lewis iced the game on a 9-yard touchdown run with 1:10 to go in the contest.

Jaylon Williamson opened the scoring with 4:05 remaining in the first quarter when he found the end zone on a 6-yard sprint to put Sweet Water up 7-0. Grady Brown later hit Green for an 8-yard touchdown strike to tie the game at 7-7. Williamson put Sweet Water up 14-7 on a 17-yard run with 4:53 to go in the second quarter. Brown later found Green again for a 52-yard touchdown pass to tie the game once more.

(Photo by Johnny Autery)
Patriot Graderius Brown (5) leaps over Bulldog defender Shamar Lewis deep in Sweet Water territory.

Linden had 367 yards of total offense but was ultimately felled, in part, by its lack of ball control. The Patriots threw two interceptions and fumbled four times though they only lost one such miscue. The Pats also incurred eight penalties for 60 yards.

Sweet Water amassed 295 yards rushing to buoy a 344-yard offensive night. Lewis totaled 128 yards and two touchdowns on 10 carries. Williamson added 83 yards and two touchdowns on 13 runs.

Green hauled in four passes for 129 yards and two touchdowns. Isaiah Scott caught four passes for 96 yards. Scott also intercepted a pass for the Linden defense. Trent Sams had one INT for the Sweet Water defense.

Sweet Water (4-1, 4-0) travels to McIntosh next Friday night. Linden (3-3, 2-2) hosts A.L. Johnson.

(Photo by Johnny Autery)
Sweet Water WR Chastian Washington (22) hauls in a Jonah Smith pass for a 3rd Quarter TD.

Sweet Water woodsheds Shields for Region 1 win

(Photo by Johnny Autery)
DB Braiden Broussard (2) returns an interception deep into Panther territory

Sweet Water made quick work of Class 1A, Region 1 foe J.F. Shields Friday night, coasting to a 61-8 road victory.

The Bulldogs scored 40 points in the first quarter to take a commanding lead. Jonah Smith hit Shamar Lewis for a 49-yard touchdown pass. Jaylon Williamson added the conversion run to make it 8-0. Smith punched it in from 3 yards out before a Jacory Brown conversion run to make it 16-0.

(Photo by Johnny Autery)
Sweet Water QB Jonah Smith calls his own number and runs for a big gain.

Jonah Smith then threw to his younger brother Sasha Smith for a 33-yard touchdown. Brown’s conversion plunge made it 24-0. Smith then hit Trent Sams for a 16-yard touchdown strike. Williamson’s conversion run pushed it to 32-0. Lewis then ran it in from three yards out ahead of Brown’s conversion run, which made it 40-0.

Jaland Lewis-Horton added a 9-yard touchdown run in the second quarter while Kaleb Greene had a 4-yard scoring sprint to set the halftime lead at 53-0. After Shields got on the board in the fourth, Lewis returned the ensuing kickoff 85 yards for a touchdown. Lewis-Horton added the conversion run for the final margin.

Smith was 7 of 8 passing for 170 yards and three touchdowns in addition to his 20 rushing yards and one touchdown rushing. Lewis-Horton had 52 yards on seven carries to lead all Bulldog rushers. Lewis had two catches for 62 yards and a score. Braiden Broussard intercepted a pass for Sweet Water.

Sweet Water (3-1, 3-0) is off next Friday and will host Linden Oct. 6.

(Photo by Johnny Autery)
Bulldog defenders, Michael Allen Cole (76), Brodie Echols (75) and Chance Broussard (48) gang tackle the Panther RB