Missed opportunities in the first half for Sweetwater led to second-half domination in the Mustangsâ€™ Dis-trict 4-3A showdown Friday with Midland Greenwood.
The visiting Rangers, after spotting Sweetwater a 7-0 lead in the first quarter, gradually took control and came away with a 31-13 win that leaves both teams 1-1 in district play.
Greenwood (5-2 overall) was led by quarterback Kam Williams, who accounted for 381 yards â€” 245 pas-sing and 136 rushing â€” and four touchdowns. The 6-3, 200-pounder had scoring runs of 10, 9 and 7 yards and also threw a 10-yard TD pass to Logan Day.
The Rangers led just 13-7 at halftime after surviving a late Sweetwater threat that resulted in the Mustangsâ€™ third of four turnovers dur-ing the night.
Sweetwater (3-4 overall) reached Greenwoodâ€™s 21 on a 12-yard, fourth-down completion from quarterback Kaegan Jeffrey to Bray Amos plus a personal foul penalty on Greenwood at the end of the play. How-ever, Jeffrey â€” who reached a personal high for the second straight game with 341 yards passing â€” was intercepted three plays later.
Greenwood, which took advantage of six Sweetwa-ter turnovers to win 28-26 last year on its home field, began to assert dominance by scoring on its first two possessions of the third quarter to take a 25-7 lead.
Williams guided the Ran-gers on scoring drives that covered 79 and 77 yards, respectively, and nearly led a third TD drive before the period was over as Green-wood moved from its 29 to Sweetwaterâ€™s 10. But after having first-and-goal, the Rangers turned it over on downs thanks to two penal-ties and a Sweetwater de-fense that stiffened near the end zone. But the Mustangs couldnâ€™t do anything after getting the ball back and driving to Greenwoodâ€™s 20, as a fourth-down run came up just short.
Jeffrey gave Sweetwater its 7-0 lead on a 19-yard pass to Kaleb Hoover which capped a short drive in the first quarter. Sweetwater needed just five plays after starting at the Rangersâ€™ 34 following an interception by Ryan Linebaugh.
Greenwood seemed to be headed for a score after a Sweetwater fumble before giving it back just five plays later when Linebaugh inter-cepted Williams.
However, Greenwood eventually tied it 7-7 when Williams capped an eight-play, 62-yard drive by scor-ing on a 10-yard run and Jesus Rodriguez kicked his only PAT midway through the second period. The Rangers then took a 13-7 lead after forcing a punt, this time on a 9-yard run by Williams. Sweetwater was able to block the extra point, something it did twice on Friday night.
However, the Mustangs did not find the end zone again until very late, and after Greenwood led 31-7 in the fourth quarter after a touchdown run by the Ran-gersâ€™ Braydin Moreland that capped a 12-play drive.
Hoover was once again on the receiving end of the last score as Jeffrey found him with just 41 seconds left in the game from 28 yards out. A two-point pass after the touchdown was no good, and Greenwood ran out the clock as the Rangers claimed a victory in the first-ever district meeting between the two schools.
Jeffrey connected with six receivers in going 22-of-35 through the air, but he was also intercepted twice, both times in the first half. Greenwoodâ€™s Williams was 23-of-38 for 245 yards to nine different receivers.
The busiest Sweetwater receivers were Hoover (six catches, 137 yards), Willie Norman (6, 103) and Bray Amos (7, 73). But for all that passing success, Sweetwater was unable to do much of anything on the ground.
The Mustangs finished the night with just 16 total yards rushing on 24 attempts on Friday.
Now they must regroup in a hurry to face a Big Spring Steers team that is o-2 in district after a 5-0 start. The game will be in Big Spring. The Steers lost 31-21 to Snyder (1-1) on Friday.
Wylie, meanwhile, edged Monahans in Fridayâ€™s other game to go 2-0 and take the outright 4-3A lead.
Sweetwater, Greenwood, Snyder and Monahans are all tied for second place in the district with 1-1 marks. Sweetwater still has to face Wylie and Monahans, and must be more consistent in its last three games â€” and probably win twice to avoid missing the playoffs for the fourth straight year.
â€śWeâ€™ve got to keep fight-ing,â€ť said coach Shane Mob-ley. â€śYou just donâ€™t know. Anything can happen in this district on any given night.â€ť