Thompson says improvement needed despite SWHS win

SWEET WATER – Although Sweet Water High School treated fans to a 49-24 Homecoming victory over the R.C. Hatch Bobcats Friday night, head coach Pat Thompson says there’s plenty of room for improvement as the Bulldogs enter the second half of the season.

“This win was ugly,” Thompson said. “We weren’t real focused. I think Homecoming had a little to do with that.”

The visiting Bobcats silenced the Homecoming faithful on the game’s first play, when Quindon Shaw bobbled the opening kickoff, picked it up and raced 94 yards for the touchdown. Freddie Ward passed to Troy’Darius Brooks to give R.C. Hatch the 8-0 lead.

Undaunted, Sweet Water responded with a methodical drive that Eric Jenkins capped with a 16-yard touchdown run. Deshawn Blanks kicked the extra point to trim Hatch’s lead to 8-7.

Following a Bobcat three-and-out, Keldric Greene returned the punt 28 yards to the Hatch 32, setting up an 11-yard Jenkins run moments later. The score and Blanks’ PAT gave Sweet Water its first lead of the night at 14-8.

Late in the first, Greene worked his punt return magic again, this time running 43 yards to the Bobcat 20. Greene scored shortly thereafter on a four-yard run, and Blanks rounded out the first quarter scoring with the extra point.

Sweet Water gave R.C. Hatch a gift early in the second when a high punt snap resulted in a safety. The ensuing free kick turned out to be a blessing in disguise, though, when Will Huckabee recovered a Bobcat fumble on the return. That turnover led to a 23-yard Jenkins run and a 28-10 Sweet Water lead.

Hatch refused to roll over, though, and cut the lead to 10 when Ward hit Justin Smith for a 50-yard scoring strike with 2:46 to play before the half. Stanley Green ran the two-point conversion.

A determined Bulldog offense returned the favor and put the ball in the end zone once more before the break when quarterback Branson Davis executed a perfect screen pass to Huckabee, who ran 50 yards for the touchdown with two ticks left on the clock.

In the third quarter, Greene, who finished the night with 209 yards on 13 carries, scored on a 73-yard run up the middle. Xavier McInthosh accounted for Sweet Water’s final points of the evening on a three-yard run with 4:03 remaining in the third.

R.C. Hatch added a late score on a three-yard Ward run.

“We kept stopping ourselves,” Thompson said. “We’ve got to stop the penalties and turnovers. We’ve got to get better, and we know that.”

In addition to Greene’s 209-yard effort, Jenkins contributed 135 yards on 14 carries and McIntosh picked up a hard-earned 86 yards on 13 attempts.

Davis tossed the ball three times, completing one, the 50-yard touchdown to Huckabee.

The Bulldogs, 3-2, travel to Leroy next Friday.