Stangs, Lions renew rivalry

Ron Howell
Sports Editor

Sweetwater’s players likely thought the second round of their postseason football journey would be a rematch with Glen Rose.
If so, a 42-28 upset loss by the Tigers changed their thinking.
And the team they lost to — Vernon — has more than its share of playoff history with Sweetwater, not all of it positive. Over a five-year span between 2003-2007, the teams met three times and the Lions won all three of the games to end Sweetwater playoff runs.
But Sweetwater was a 49-27 winner the last time the teams played in 2014, when the Mustangs ended a five-year playoff drought.
And all first-year head coach Ben McGehee cares about is what happens the day after Thanksgiving, at 7 p.m. Friday in Breckenridge.
And he is also confident that Vernon’s surprising win over Glen Rose will keep his players focused on immediate business and not looking ahead to either Monahans or Graham, who would be the next opponent for the 9-2 Mustangs (see below).
Last week Vernon (5-6) didn’t resemble a fourth-place team that wound up 1-3 in District 3-4A, D-II after winning their finale against Krum.
They matched first-half TDs with Glen Rose, trailing 21-18 at intermission, then took control with a 24-7 run in the third and fourth quarters thanks to a ground game that produced 369 yards on 60 attempts.
Brent McCallon and Chad Thomas both ran for two touchdowns and over 150 yards each for the Lions, who like Sweetwater have a first-year head coach in Matthew Hoover.
McGehee said Glen Rose may have looked ahead last week after beating Vernon 56-20 a year earlier. But he admitted to being surprised by Vernon’s win last week.
“They had a good game plan and executed it well. We need to get them out of their game plan,” he said. “I think if we do that we’ll be in good shape.”
The Tigers have for many years run the Wing-T but have altered their look and may throw more often, but McGehee expects about 70 percent of their plays to be runs. “I think if we can get up on them early they won’t be comfortable,” he said.
Sweetwater started slowly against Perryton but had a 36-0 run in the middle of the contest to take a commanding lead en route to a 60-14 bi-district win.
Both phases of Sweetwater’s offense looked sharp. QB Chris Thompson threw four TD passes, three of them to Kobe Clark and the other to Ky Hoover. In addition, Thompson and Daniel Avila ran for touchdowns. Sweetwater hit the 60-point barrier for the third time this season and had over 50 points for the fifth time this year in 11 games.