Mustangs face another tough game vs. Loboes

Ron Howell
Sports Editor

For three straight years, the Sweetwater-Monahans game has detemined the district champion. But the best either can do this year is be the No. 2 seed out of District 2-4A, Division II.
And even if Sweetwater wins, it won’t be a done deal — because the Mustangs may still have to beat Midland Greenwood on Nov. 10 to claim the second seed if the Rangers defeat 0-4 Lamesa on Friday. Greenwood is currently fourth at 2-2, a game behind Sweetwater and Monahans. Seminole (5-0) clinched the No. 1 seed by beating Sweetwater 28-27 last Friday.
Until last week, Sweetwater had not been involved in a game decided by fewer than 25 points. But four of Monahans’ six victories this season have been by seven points or less. The last two Sweetwater-Monahans contests have been decided by a total of four points, including last year’s 19-16 Loboes win at Mustang Bowl that was the Mustangs’ only regular-season defeat.
That win ultimately gave Monahans the 2-4A crown and cost Sweetwater a third straight title. But the Mustangs responded to the loss by advancing to the Class 4A state championship game with six consecutive wins before losing to West Orange-Stark at AT&T Stadium.
Sweetwater is now in a similar spot after losing in overtime last week at home to Seminole. After the loss, first-year coach Ben McGehee said, “We just told the kids ‘don’t let Seminole beat us twice.’
“Our kids just want to go out there Friday and win (against Monahans).
“We’ve just got to go play good football and get rolling. We need momentum back and established going into the playoffs.”
McGehee said a failure to take advantage of opportunities led to last week’s loss. “When you play a good team it is going to come to six or seven plays and we didn’t capitalize on those moments,” he said.
Monahans — which is in the playoffs for the 13th straight year under coach Mickey Owens — employs a number of defensive sets but on offense, it will rely primarily on running back Tylan McCalister, who ran for 1,751 yards a year ago.
But Monahans is still in good hands on the rare occasions when it does throw with quarterback Dante Griner, who passed for over 1,000 yards last season. The secondary is led by cornerback David Birdwell, who is also a threat offensively.