Two teams headed in opposite directions. Tech-nically, that’s true for Sweet-water and Breckenridge, who bring matching 1-1 records to Mustang Bowl on Friday for Sweetwater’s home opener — and also the highlight game for this year’s ninth annual Sammy Baugh Classic.
The Mustangs won 39-31 at Andrews last week after allowing nearly 600 yards in a season-opening 46-30 loss to Eastland. Brecken-ridge, after winning 42-28 at Colorado City to start its season, was routed 48-3 by Vernon at home this past Friday to fall back to .500.
Being at home has to look good for Sweetwater, which has traveled over 400 miles to play football in the past month when you count its opening scrimmage at Wichita Falls Hirschi.
But the Mustangs can’t afford to take Breckenridge lightly — the Buckaroos, who were in Sweetwater’s old 3A district for four years (2006-09) before dropping to Class 2A — are too good for that. They have become a perennial 2A playoff team under coach Steve Freeman, who has turned the Bucks’ fortunes around the past three years after having suc-cess for many years before that at Brownwood.
Shane Mobley got his second head coaching win last year at Freeman’s expense when Sweetwater prevailed 33-14 at Breckenridge.
But seven offensive and nine defensive starters are back for the Bucks, who are in the district (4-2A, Division I) as Eastland.Among the returning starters for Breckenridge are senior wide receiver Chris Madison, who caught a TD pass against Sweetwater in last year’s contest and has nine catches for 275 yards so far this season. Mobley calls Madison the Bucka-roos’ “biggest threat.”
Madison had six catches for 211 yards in the Zero Week win over Colorado City, but he and the rest of the team were held in check by Vernon as Breckenridge had just 154 total yards and failed to find the end zone after taking an early 3-0 advantage.
Breckenridge runs a multiple offense Mobley said is similar to Wylie, perhaps even more so. The Bucks, he said, can run the same plays while using different formations — Breckenridge has over 50 it can employ. “They run everything from a two-back to an empty set in the backfield,” Mobley said.
“Defensively, we’ve just got to make sure we com-municate. We’ll try to put ourselves in the best posi-tion for what they run.
“On offense, they want to get you tired with all the formations they use, and we’ve got to expect some trick plays. They try to be balanced, but they threw a lot more against Vernon (27 times) because they were playing catch-up.”
Despite blowing 15 points of a 23-point lead against Andrews last week, Mobley said Sweetwater showed im-provement on both offense and defense. “We had a mass substitution toward the end for one series and they caught up a bit,” he said. “But I thought we tac-kled a lot better and com-municated better. I thought our receivers did a great job of blocking and allowing kids to make big plays. And our offensive line has come so far since the beginning of the year.”