Mustangs will begin postseason against Perryton

Ron Howell
Sports Editor

In the last three years Sweetwater has been in 13 playoff games, at least three each year, with six last season when the Mustangs got to the Class 4A, D-II finals.
And under first-year head coach Ben McGehee, the expectations remain high for Sweetwater (8-2) as it starts the playoffs by facing Perryton (4-6) in bi-district at 7 p.m. today in Childress.
McGehee said the playoffs are a new beginning. “We approach it as the third season,” he said. “Everybody is 0-0, and our mission is to go 6-0. We’re trying to get that accomplished.”
Sweetwater is his first head coaching job, but McGehee has had plenty of experience with long postseason runs as an assistant.
At Temple, the Wildcats were state finalists two of the past three years including last season, when it reached the Class 5A, Division I championship game against Highland Park at Arlington’s AT&T Stadium before losing 16-7.
Temple also made it to the title game in 2014 when the Wildcats lost to Aledo in a 49-45 shootout.
Sweetwater looked like a good bet for a repeat trip to the state finals following a 7-0 season start, and 3-0 district start that clinched a playoff berth. After losing to Seminole and Monahans, however, the Mustangs had to regroup for their final regular season contest with Midland Greenwood — and responded with a 41-point first half in a 48-23 win.
Now they must prepare for Perryton, the No. 2 team in District 1-4A, D-II. The Rangers got off to a disastrous 0-5 start as they were outscored 201-15 by their first five opponents. But after beating Snyder 26-22 for its first win, Perryton ended the regular season on a high note in 1-4A with wins against Denver City, Brownfield and Dalhart. The Rangers won all three games by at least two scores.
McGehee said the recent success can be traced to the Perryton staff’s decision to ditch its spread offense and go with a run-first philosophy that features 6-2 senior back Will Cator, who against Brownfield ran for a career-high 222 yards.
Perryton’s Ceasar Luther led the way in last week’s win over Dalhart with three touchdown runs.
Other standouts for the Rangers include linebacker Brandon Daniels, who had 15 tackles, seven for a loss, and forced a fumble in the win over Dalhart.
The Sweetwater-Perryton winner advances to the area playoffs to face Glen Rose or Vernon, who meet in their bi-district playoff on Friday in Springtown.