After all the talk about its new spread offense, Sweet-water didn’t look all that different from Mustang teams of the past in last Friday’s 23-13 season-opening win over Eastland.
Of Sweetwater’s 326 total yards, 291 came by the run as the Mustangs completed just five passes.
Meanwhile, the defense gave up a lot of yards (384) but was scored on by East-land’s offense just once — with 3:34 left in the fourth quarter — even though the Mavericks took a whopping 81 snaps in the contest.
Eastland also scored after recovering a loose ball in the end zone to take a 6-0 lead after a muffed Sweetwater attempt to field a punt. But the Mustangs overcame the early adversity by scoring the next 20 points while stopping potential Eastland scoring drives.
Sweetwater’s defense will be tested again this Friday, when the Mustangs host an Andrews squad whose spread offense lit up the scoreboard and had 562 total yards in a 55-41 season-opening win over San Angelo Lake View.
Andrews’ junior quarterback Shane Dolgener was especially impressive. Not only did he complete 17 of 24 passes for 315 yards and a touchdown, but he ran for 102 yards and three scores on six rushes.
But even if Dolgener does put up big numbers again, Sweetwater showed against Eastland that making big plays in the red zone can limit a team’s effectiveness.
Sweetwater coach Shane Mobley said making the right defensive adjustments will be important to having continued success.
“We’ll see some stuff on Friday that we haven’t seen before,” he said.
“Eastland came out in some different formations that we weren’t ready for and had some success. We had to make some adjust-ments, but we changed a couple of keys and were able to maintain defensively.”
Several individuals came up with big defensive plays for the Mustangs in the second half to protect their lead. Perhaps the biggest came when Ty Davis recovered a fumble caused by Luis Gaxiola inside Sweetwater’s 1 with the Mustangs leading 13-6 in the third quarter.
Sweetwater later stopped two more drives inside its 20, and the final defensive play — appropriately — was an interception by cornerback Willie Norman.
“We made some huge plays,” Mobley admitted. “In our defense everybody has a job to do and if they take care of their job, things should flow together.”
On offense, Sweetwater ran the ball more after it got the lead in order to shorten the game, Mobley said. “We would have thrown more, but we wanted to play a smart game. Clock management was huge,” he said.
“The kids were excited (after the win). They knew that all the hard work they have put in had paid off.”
After Andrews, the Mus-tangs aren’t at home again until their district opener Oct. 12 when they play host to Snyder as the next three games are all on the road.