Brantley gets chance at redemption

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, November 9, 2005

It's been 11 months, but it's something that Brantley players have been talking about ever since they fell 34-20 in the Class 1A semifinals at Sweet Water.

It's called redemption.

&#8220Our bunch is excited about it,” said Bulldogs coach David Lowery. &#8220But we don't want to get too high early in the week. So we want to keep it low key and let it build up as the week goes along. I hope we will reach that high on Friday night.”

Brantley (10-1) cruised to the second round of the 1A playoffs by dismantling an overmatched and inexperienced J.U. Blacksher squad 60-6.

Bulldog quarterback Edgar Walker threw for three touchdowns, while Chris Booker accounted for two rushing touchdowns and a punt return for a touchdown.

Sweet Water (9-2) reached the second round thanks to the 231-yard rushing performance from Anthony Landrum in a 35-27 victory over Maplesville.

&#8220We don't like to harp on him,” Sweet Water coach Stacy Luker said of his Sophomore running back, but we're glad he's on our team.”

The defending Class 1A champs have continued to build on their success offensively in the wing-T with a trio of backs that have rushed for almost 1,000 yards each.

Landrum leads the team with 1,137 yards and 14 touchdowns. He's followed by Dominic Holt with 1,052 yards, while senior back Travion Lockett needs 50 more yards to make the 1,000 yard club. He is tied with Landrum with a team-high 16 touchdowns.

So when it comes finding a way slow Sweet Water down, it all starts with the running game.

&#8220The key is to stop their running game,” Lowery said. &#8220But that's something not a lot of people have been able to do. If they run up and down the field all night on us Friday, then we're in trouble.”

While there is no doubt rushing the football has been the reason for Sweet Water's success, Brantley has been able to play with a balanced attack led by Walker. But the Bulldogs do have their trio of backs to lean on with James Pittman, Jeffery Daniels and Booker.

&#8220They can hit you in so many different ways,” Luker said. &#8220Their quarterback does a lot for

them. He's a good leader, and doesn't hurt them because he's so accurate with his throws.

Then there's (Booker, Pittman and Daniels) running the football.

&#8220You just hope to control the tempo and keep the football out of their hands.”

Luker also has fancied himself as a student of high school football and traditions of high school programs.

&#8220If I counted right, Brantley has a 46-4 record in their last 50 games. That's tough,” he said. &#8220They obviously have a great winning tradition over there, and we know it will be a tough environment over there. We're looking forward to it.”

Sweet Water is no slouch when it comes to tradition, either.

The Bulldogs have won five state 1A titles dating back to 1978.

&#8220We've got a group of kids that take pride in the tradition, and

the community takes pride in them,” Luker said. &#8220Right now I'm coaching kids whose dads that played on state title teams. I'm seeing that second generation and that's good for me.”