WOODROW — While his team’s execution wasn’t as crisp as he’d hoped and the No. 1 unit failed to get into the end zone, Sweetwater head football coach Craig Slaughter was also encouraged by much of what he saw in the Mustangs’ season-opening scrimmage with Lubbock Cooper as the teams battled to a 1-1 draw on Friday.
And the final result was clearly much better than in 2010 when Lubbock Cooper dominated the teams’ scrimmage at Sweetwater, winning by a 4-0 count.
“We’re pretty pleased,” Slaughter said, noting Coo-per played its starters most of the way Friday and has seven returning starters on both sides of the ball after advancing to the Class 3A quarterfinals last season.
“I thought it was a very good step in the right direc-tion. This will help us get ready for the games ahead.”
Still, he admitted there is plenty of room for improvement as Sweetwater — despite out-gaining Cooper 310-234 — hit paydirt just once and wasted good op-portunities to score on its first two series. The defense, though, didn’t allow a score until late in the scrimmage.
The Mustangs’ only tally was rather spectacular — a 70-yard burst by sophomore running back Marquees Jenkins, who had a team-high 110 yards on just eight carries while playing with both offensive units.
No. 1 quarterback Taylor Jones had a solid passing night (7-of-11 for 70 yards) and also was effective run-ning the ball with 27 yards on four carries, while Ryan Linebaugh ran for 38 yards on 10 carries and Adrian Lopez, Bobby Soto, Cole Maxwell and Kaleb Hoover, the No. 2 quarterback, also had nice runs. On the receiving end, Linebaugh and Gabriel Medellin each had two catches while Sean Morrow, Jenkins, Nate Hardin and Willie Norman had one. Linebaugh also had an interception on defense.
Sweetwater started off by driving from its 30 to Cooper’s 26 before an in-terception ended the threat. The Mustangs then drove all the way to Cooper’s 13, the No. 1 unit’s deepest penetration of the night, before Jones was stopped on a fourth-down run. Cooper moved to Sweetwater’s 25 on its opening series before the Mustang defense held, and didn’t threaten again until scoring its touchdown on a 13-play drive against Sweetwater’s No. 1 unit. The No. 2 defense kept Cooper from scoring after getting to Sweetwater’s 3-yard line.