Brantley bows out in semifinals to Sweet Water

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, December 14, 2004

Good things must come to an end.

For Brantley High School's football team, the end came two games too soon.

The Sweet Water Bulldogs (12-2) upset the third-ranked Bulldogs (13-1) 34-20 on the road last Friday night in the Alabama High School Athletic Association's (AHSAA) Class 1A semifinals.

The home team showed dominance in the second half to build on a 14-6 halftime lead following a first half filled with questionable calls.

"There were a lot of things going on that shouldn't have been going on, I didn't think," Lowery said. "But you have to deal with that kind of stuff when you go on the road. You just don't expect to deal with those things in the semifinals of a playoff game."

The visiting Bulldogs drove straight down the field on Sweet Water, but were unable to convert after a penalty nixed an opening-drive touchdown. That would be Brantley's only shot at the lead.

Brantley Head Coach David Lowery questioned a offensive pass interference call late in his Bulldogs' opening drive, but the call stood and Sweet Water took over on downs. Coaches and staff members also questioned why Sweet Water parents were working the chains instead of AHSAA officials.

Sweet Water drove down the field on its first possession and scored on a 41-yard pass. The home Bulldogs followed the score up with a six-yard run on their second possession to open the second quarter.

Brantley managed to get on the scoreboard with just over a minute to play in the half when senior running back Devaris Skanes scored on a four-yard run.

At the half, Sweet Water led, 14-6.

Sweet Water scored on its first three possessions of the second half to build a 34-6 lead and take the wind out of the visitors.

Brantley managed to score two quick touchdowns late in the game when junior quarterback Edgar Walker connected with Lance Myers on a 12-yard touchdown and with Skanes on a six-yard score.

"I was proud of them," Lowery said. "I thought they played hard and didn't quit. A lot of people would have quit, but they didn't. They kept fighting."

Sweet Water freshman running back Anthony Landrum, who chalked up 232 yards rushing, led the home Bulldogs. He scored on runs of 62 and 18 yards.

Although the running game proved itself against Brantley, Sweet Water Head Coach Stacy Luker said he was proud of his defense's play.

"Our defense has played great football the last three weeks," Luker said. "I know they hung two scores pretty quick there at the end. This whole football team has overcome a lot of obstacles. This football team has pulled together. That's why we're winning; it's not that we're good on offense. We're playing good defense. I'm proud of these guys."

Luker said his players' confidence in the system played a key role in the win.

"We believe in what we're doing, we believe in the system," Luker said. "This is just a good group of players. This is a football team and you couldn't get these guys to tell you any different. This is a special group."

Walker led Brantley as he finished 14-of-18 passing for 179 yards. Skanes, who is Brantley's all-time leading rusher, finished the night with 88 yards on 18 carries. He finished his career with 5,669 yards rushing, which ranks 10th in the state history, according to the AHSAA.

As for the season, Lowery said he's proud of his team's efforts.

"We just came up short, that's part of it," Lowery said. "A lot of people would like to be 13-1. I'm proud of the