There will be a definite sense of finality on Friday when Sweetwater and Wylie meet at Mustang Bowl.
Itâ€™s the final game of the regular season for both of the teams, but the finality goes further. Consider:
(1) If Sweetwater loses, the Mustangsâ€™ season will be over unless Snyder (1-3 in district) also loses to Midland Greenwood (0-4). If Snyder wins and the Mustangs (2-2) lose to Wylie, Snyder will take the No. 4 â€” and final â€” playoff spot in District 4-3A by vir-tue of the Tigersâ€™ 41-14 win over Sweetwater.
(2) It may be the last time Sweetwater and Wylie meet in a district game for awhile, if the Bulldogs are moved by the UIL to a big-school division in the next realignment while Sweetwater is put in the small-school division.
Sweetwater â€” whose only two wins over Wylie since dropping to Class 3A after the 1999 season came in the two years (2002-03) when the teams were in separate districts â€” would like noth-ing better than to end its frustration while extending its season for at least one more week.
The outlook for Sweetwa-ter would be much less rosy had it not beat Monahans 28-9 last Friday, a win that dropped the Loboes (3-1) into a tie with Wylie and Big Spring for first place. Now, Sweetwater can advance as the No. 1 small-school seed from District 4-3A if the Mustangs beat Wylie while Monahans also loses to Big Spring on Friday.
To beat Wylie, Sweetwater may need to play as well as it did against the Loboes in by far its best game of the season so far. Sweetwater set one-game lows for the fewest points (9) and yards (281) allowed in handing Monahans its first defeat in district play. Wylie beat Snyder 27-16 last week and if it wins Friday while Big Spring defeats Monahans, Wylie will be the No. 1 seed in the district.
Beating Monahans was a breakout win for the team, said coach Shane Mobley. â€śWeâ€™ve been close to (a breakout win) all year and didnâ€™t finish, but our kids finished this time. They took care of it. So itâ€™s something we want to do again. If we play well, we have the opportunity to beat them. If we play our game, we can play with them.â€ť
Sweetwater is starting to get â€śthat winning mentality and desire,â€ť Mobley said.
â€śWe challenged the kids (last) Friday night and they came out and responded.â€ť
One thing that may have helped Sweetwater finish the job last week against Monahans is the memory of 2012, when the Loboes overcame a 21-point deficit to beat Sweetwater 39-35. â€śWe (the coaches) had last year on our minds, and it was on our kidsâ€™ minds. But this week weâ€™re not thinking about Monahans,â€ť Mobley said. Weâ€™re thinking about not just making the play-offs, but possibly being the No. 1 small-school seed. So thereâ€™s a lot of motivation for our guys this week.â€ť
And Mobley thinks his team has another big game in them. â€śMost definitely,â€ť he said, â€śbecause weâ€™re having fun, and thatâ€™s on both sides of (the ball).
â€śWeâ€™ve got to keep our destiny in our hands. Weâ€™ve got to put it on our shoul-ders,â€ť he said.
Sweetwaterâ€™s defense, of course, had numerous big plays against Monahans. One of the biggest plays of the game was an 81-yard fumble recovery by defen-sive lineman Cory Mendez, who picked up the loose ball at Sweetwaterâ€™s 19 and went 81 yards the other way to give his team a 14-7 lead in the second quarter â€” a lead the Mustangs held on to and increased in the second half, getting two more scores after the Loboes used a safety to get within 14-9 in the third quarter.