‘Stangs begin Midland swing

Based strictly on wins and losses, Sweetwater has had as much success so far this season as any team in its district. And the Mustangs will be looking to build on their 3-1 start when they go to Midland Greenwood this Friday — the first of two straight games involving trips to Midland.Sweetwater and Green-wood are both coming off a victory. The Mustangs were a 19-0 winner over Class 2A Early, while Greenwood (2-2) rallied from an 11-point first-half deficit to defeat 4A San Angelo Lake View 23-19. Both Sweetwater and Greenwood defeated teams who have been struggling and in fact, Sweetwater’s last two opponents, Levelland and Early, are winless. The Rangers will be a more substantial opponent, however.When the teams met a year ago in Sweetwater, the Mustangs racked up a season-high 496 yards in beat-ing the Rangers 32-7 and improving to 4-1. It would be Sweetwater’s last win of the season. Coach Craig Slaughter is hoping for a similar result against Greenwood for his Mustangs on Friday, with the intent of bigger victories down the road.Sweetwater ends non-district play by going back to Midland on Sept. 30 to face Midland Christian before beginning District 5-3A play at Wylie a week later.The defense continued to shine this past week with its second shutout of the year, as Early had just 165 yards. But the Mustang offense again lacked consistency, managing just 103 yards and punting three times in the second half after putting up 194 yards in the first half against the Longhorns.In addition, Sweetwater was hurt by penalties (12 for 95 yards). “We will improve on the penalties,” Slaughter said. “We want to come out hot from the get-go and avoid a slow start.“We think there’s another level of football, and inten-sity, that we’re capable of, and we’re going to need it.“Greenwood has some big targets. This will be a good test for what we’re going to see against Wylie.”Defensively, Sweetwater has given up just 25 points and two offensive touch-downs, both by Monahans in the Mustangs’ 17-7 loss back in Week 1. There were also positives on the offensive side against Early. Ryan Linebaugh ran for 105 yards — the first 100-yard game by a Mustang this year. QB Taylor Jones completed 8 of 11 passes for 96 yards, his best showing yet, with no interceptions. Both Linebaugh and Jones scored a touchdown, as did fullback Sam Nemir.The defense was paced again by Linebaugh with six tackles, seven assists and one sack. Mateo Gonzales also had six tackles, and he and Alex Garcia also recor-ded sacks.