After onesided district-opening defeats — by nearly identical scores — last week, Sweetwater and Greenwood will have a sense of urgency when they meet on Friday.
Yes, it’s true: the Univer-sity Interscholastic League now allows four of the six teams from District 4-3A into the playoffs. But the Sweetwater-Greenwood loser will drop to 0-2, and be squarely on the outside looking in with just three games left in the season.
Sweetwater has now lost three straight after a 2-1 start, and last week’s 41-14 loss at Snyder was its first blowout defeat of the year.
Also, the Mustangs were held scoreless in a single half for the first time, and the offense had a season-low 306 yards as well as a season-high five turnovers, four in the second half.
But Sweetwater was much more competitive than the final score would indicate.
The Mustangs trailed just 7-0 at halftime, and were down just 21-14 late in the third quarter until Snyder put it out of reach by scoring the last 20 points.
As bad as the finish was, Sweetwater probably wishes it could replay the start as well. The Mustangs reached the red zone on their first two possessions vs. Snyder, but failed to score either time as a fourth-down run came up short and a first-down pass was picked off.
Sweetwater has had 11 turnovers in its past three games. Also, a personal foul penalty sustained Snyder’s first scoring drive when it appeared the Mustangs had stopped them on third down deep in their territory.
While the offensive production was stymied in the second half by turnovers, coach Shane Mobley said it caused more by frustration than from fatigue, although several Mustangs are two-way players this season.
Snyder ran a total of 67 plays to Sweetwater’s 47. “The defense was on the field quite awhile,” Mobley said.
“But I think it was mental more than fatigue. We were trying. That’s what you want, but you’ve got to secure (the ball). Things are going to happen sometimes.But I wasn’t upset with the kids. We had a good game plan,” he continued. “We just have to avoid turnovers and mentally stay in the game. This year we’ve done a good job of overcoming adversity, but last Friday night it just kept hitting us in the face.”
Like Sweetwater, Green-wood (2-4) has found itself struggling with consistency this season. And like the Mustangs, the Rangers have endured a three-game losing streak as they lost to Brownfield, Shallowater and San Angelo Lake View after starting the season with a win over Kermit.
Greenwood finally ended its losing streak when the Rangers defeated Lamesa 48-27, a win that came after Anthony Salas was installed as the team’s new quarterback and had 362 yards — 225 rushing and 137 passing — and three TDs in his first start. But Greenwood lost its district opener, 42-14, to Monahans last week.
With so much on the line, Sweetwater can’t afford to hold anything back on Friday night at Greenwood, Mobley said. “We’ve got to try and put up another win or two. We need to get a win now and see how the rest of the (district) plays out. We’ve got several big games this week.”