Sweet Water rushes for 445 yards in rout of Bulldogs


Lamar County's Tyler Sprouse (9) and Gregory Vann (20) tackle Deion Waters (40) of Sweet Water during a playoff game at Sweet Water Friday. (Photo by Michelle Lepianka Carter )


 

SWEET WATER | Junior Jakoby Aldridge scored three touchdowns in the first half Friday night and set up another with a 77-yard kickoff return in Sweet Water’s 55-20 victory over Lamar County in the AHSAA Class 2A playoffs.

Aldridge rushed for 226 yards on nine carries to help Sweet Water build a 48-7 halftime lead.

“Sweet Water’s got a great team,” said Lamar County coach Ken Adams, whose team finished with a 10-3 record. “It was great for us. We deserved to be here. That’s what I told our guys at halftime, play like you deserve to be here.

“We couldn’t sit back and wait. When you’ve got a team like Sweet Water that’s so well-coached, fundamentally sound and physical, you have to go after them. In the first half, we didn’t. We didn’t answer the bell.”

Led by Aldridge, Sweet Water (11-2) rushed for 444 yards on 45 carries.

“I thought we played pretty well,” said coach Stacy Luker, who rested his starters in the second half. “We asked our kids to come out and play hard tonight. We didn’t think we could match the emotion of what was going on, but we thought we could match the passion. That’s what we were trying to do, come out and play with a lot of passion and jump on them early. We felt like if we did we’d have a lot of success.”

Prior to the opening kickoff, a game ball was presented to the family of Don Thornton, who had been Lamar County’s offensive and defensive line coach. Thornton passed away last Saturday, only hours after the Lamar County team arrived home from a playoff win over G.W. Long in Skipperville. The Lamar County players and coaches wore “Coach DT” decals. A banner on the Sweet Water sideline read: “Honoring Coach Thornton.” Steve Savarese, executive director of the AHSAA, participated in the ceremony.

“It shows you the brotherhood of coaches,” Adams said. “The family was hurting, the team was hurting and the community, but they all rallied together, and that’s something to be proud of.”

Sweet Water’s Tra Pritchett stopped Lamar County’s first drive with an interception. Aldridge had a 14-yard gain to set up a 7-yard touchdown run by Deion Waters. Taylor Wilson kicked the first of his seven extra points to give Sweet Water a 7-0 lead.

After Sweet Water forced a punt, Aldridge had a 28-yard gain. Two plays later, quarterback Brett Davis scored on a 7-yard run. Aldridge’s 19-yard touchdown run and Wilson’s extra point boosted the lead to 21-0 with 45 seconds left in the first quarter.

Gregory Vann started Lamar County’s next drive with a 20-yard gain. Dallas Cockerham threw to Timothy Harton for 46 yards and hit Alex Wheeler on an 8-yard touchdown pass. Eriberto Casas added the extra point to cut it to 21-7. Aldridge returned the ensuing kickoff to the Lamar County 3, and Demarcus Gamble scored on the next play.

Following another Lamar County punt, Aldridge scored on a 75-yard run.

“He’s not bad,” Luker said. “Deion Waters got hurt early. He led us last week in rushing, so Jakoby really had to carry the load in that first half. He’s explosive, and he’s a great runner.”

Jarvis Lewis made the first of his two interceptions, and Sweet Water got a 2-yard touchdown run from Gamble. Lewis’ second interception gave Sweet Water possession at its 9. Aldridge gained 33 and 22 yards and scored on a 27-yard run with 26 seconds left before the half.

Sweet Water got its last touchdown on a 2-yard run by Desmond Retic in the third quarter.

Wheeler scored on a 2-yard run in the third quarter. Briggs Roberts recovered a fumble to set up Lamar County’s final touchdown drive, which ended with quarterback Cullin Carter scoring on a 2-yard run with 3:53 left.

“We didn’t made very good decisions,” Adams said. “You’ve got to take what the defense gives you. Dallas throwing the three picks, he threw them trying to make a play. You can’t fault him for trying to make a play, but you use it as a teaching thing. Take what’s there and build off that.

“But I’m proud of the kids. What they did this year was huge.”

Sweet Water advances to the semifinals to face Washington County

Reach Andrew Carroll at andrew.carroll@tuscaloosanews.com or at 205-722-0223.