Hawks offer big challenge as Mustangs’ latest 2A foe

September 20, 2012

Cole Maxwell

Sweetwater’s two wins in the 2012 season have both come against Class 2A com-petition. But the Mustangs’ third and final 2A opponent may be their toughest.
For starters, Wall has lost only four of 29 games since the start of the 2010 season under coach Houston Guy and was ranked No. 7 in the state just two weeks ago until losing to Merkel.
However, the Hawks (2-1) rebounded in a big way this past week when they traveled to Sonora, another West Texas Class 2A power, and easily won 47-13.
And unlike Sweetwater’s first three opponents who threw a total of 92 passes, Wall is a decidedly run-oriented team that rarely goes to the air and instead relies heavily on the talents of quarterback Luke Dacy and running backs Grant Eubank and Kelton Niehues, plus a big offensive line that averages 230 pounds.
Eubank rushed for over 1,000 yards in 2011 and is the Hawks’ top rusher this year as well. But Dacy, who had 80 yards rushing and four touchdowns directing the Hawks’ flexbone attack, and Niehues, who ran for 84 yards, led the way in last week’s win over Sonora. Eubank ran the ball just five times but gained 47 yards.
The defense is led by noseguard Cody Francis (250) and 6-6 end Michael Walling, who also start on the offensive line. Francis may be the best player that Sweetwater has faced, said coach Shane Mobley, whose 2-1 Mustangs defeated Breckenridge 33-14 last Friday to begin a three-week road swing prior to the start of district play.
Mobley said that against Sonora, Dacy often checked at the line before deciding which play to run and did so very effectively, either handing off to one of his fleet of backs or calling his own number.
“He reads the midline very well,” Mobley said. “Their fullback (Niehues) will run downhill. We’ve got to get in there and wrap up. We don’t want them running north and south. They’ll try to get to the edge on a toss sweep. I hope we have the speed to maintain them.”
Sweetwater’s defense had its best showing last week, allowing just 269 yards vs. Breckenridge and holding the Bucks without a first down for the final 11:12 of the game after seeing their lead cut to 19-14 early in the fourth quarter. The offense then scored a pair of touch-downs to put the game out of reach, first on a 46-yard run by Ryan Linebaugh and then on an 8-yard run by quarterback Kaegan Jeffrey with 3:02 left. Linebaugh ran for 83 yards and Jeffrey 49, while also completing 17 of 22 passes for 227 yards in what was by far the sopho-more’s best outing so far.
“(Jeffrey) just relaxed a little more,” Mobley said. “It’s a matter of growing and learning, and he stepped up. The line did a really good job of blocking for him.”
Sweetwater finished the game with 241 yards rush-ing and had a season-high 468 in all. “We want to be an explosive offense,” said Mobley. “You’ve got to read the defense and see what they are giving you. Coach (Zac) Harrell has done a great job for us.”

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