Sweetwater will make the three-hour trip to Monahans on Friday seeking a win â a win that would not only greatly improve its chances of making the postseason, but also be a huge boost to the football program.
The Mustangs (1-2 district, 3-5) will face a Loboes team that sits atop the 4-3A race with a perfect 3-o mark â but needed a big fourth-quarter rally to win 35-34 over Snyder last week.
Snyder, which fell to 1-2 in district, held a 34-21 lead with 7:41 to play after a 100-yard interception return.
However, Monahans got two scores down the stretch and Jacob Lair kicked the game-wnning PAT with 1:16 to play after a 54-yard scoring drive by the Loboes. It was Snyderâs fifth loss by four or fewer points.
Sweetwater and Snyder are still solid contenders for a playoff spot, despite their records. Even if Sweetwater should lose to Monahans, the Mustangs can make the postseason should Sny-der defeat Wylie (2-1) this Friday, and Sweetwater then knock off the Bulldogs next week in their season finale at Mustang Bowl. Such a scenario would eliminate the defending District 4-3A champions, according to Sweetwater coach Shane Mobley, whose team lost 65-42 to Big Spring this past Friday at the Bowl.
Mobley was pleased with his teamâs offensive effort, but Sweetwater had trouble containing a Big Spring team that had 552 yards and did not have to punt a single time in the game.
The teams traded scoring drives until the Steers took a 21-14 lead in the second quarter. Sweetwater got to Big Springâs 12 on its next series and appeared to be on the verge of tying the game again until being stopped on a fourth-down run that gave the ball back to the Steers offense.
Big Spring started from its 13 but drove 87 yards in nine plays to open a two-touchdown advantage.
After that, Sweetwater was never able to get closer than 1o and Big Spring was ahead by as much as 31 in the fourth quarter en route to going 2-1 in district.
Another key play which hurt Sweetwater came after the Mustangs tied it 14-14 with 9:44 to play in the second quarter on quarterback Kaegan Jeffreyâs 1-yard run and Michael Huntâs PAT.
Sweetwater successfully fielded the ensuing onsides kick, but was whistled by officials for being offsides on the play and Big Spring regained possession.
âThose were probably the two biggst plays in the game for us,â said Mobley.
Big Spring then opened a 31-14 halftime lead until Sweetwater cut it to 31-21 in the third quarter on a 54-yard fumble recovery and return by Isaiah McGee that re-energized the team.
âWe made some adjust-ments at halftime and I told them to keep believing,â Mobley said.
âThen Izzy made the big play where he stripped their guy. But theyâre (Big Spring) no doubt the best offensive team we have played.â
Sweetwater faces a differ-ent challenge in Monahans, which is considered primarily a running team but actually had more yards passing (226) than rushing (196) against Snyder. Monahans quarterback Hassan Walker was 12-of-22 with a pair of TD passes, while the defense held the Tigersâ powerful running game to a season-low 225 yards.
The Loboes had a balanced rushing game against Snyder led by Lair with 78 yards on 18 carries and Justice Andrews with 51 yards on 13 carries. Nick Jasso chipped in with 49 yards on just four rushing attempts.
The Loboesâ top receiver was Junior Morales, a 6-5 target who had four catches for 89 yards.
However, a 9-yard run by Bryan Venegas on his only carry of the contest was the game-winner as it capped the final scoring drive for Monahans.
Monahans handed Wylie its only loss in district play, 25-7, a week before its nar-row escape against Snyder and began district with a 42-14 win over 0-3 Midland Greenwood, the only team without a victory in district play so far.
âOne game at a time is all we can do at this point,â Mobley said. âWe canât look ahead. Of course you want more wins, but weâve got to just go out Friday and execute.â