SW wins at Stockton to set up a showdown Friday with Seminole

Ron Howell
Sports Editor

FORT STOCKTON — It was not the most artistic win, but Sweetwater set the stage for a big shootout this week with Friday’s 41-7 victory at Fort Stockton.
Sweetwater — now 7-0 overall and 3-0 in District 2-4A, Division II — will face Seminole (4-0 district, 7-1) here this Friday at 7 p.m. in a first-place showdown at Mustang Bowl. It will be Seminole coach Kent Jackson’s first return to the Bowl since he led Sweetwater’s program from 2001 through 2008, and also a rematch of teams who met in the Class 4A, D-II state quarterfinals last season.
Sweetwater led 21-0 at Fort Stockton ((1-3) in the first quarter after three touchdowns in the span of less than five minutes, and coasted to its 45th win in 49 games dating back to the start of the 2014 season. The Mustangs led 41-0 until the Panthers ended the shutout bid with a fourth-quarter score set up by a fumble recovery of a bad snap — one of four Sweetwater turnovers.
Head coach Ben McGehee said his team will need to correct those mistakes, but was otherwise positive. “We missed some opportunities to score more, but the defense played real well,” he said.
“I think our kids are fired up and ready to go (against Seminole). It will be an exciting week. We will finally get to focus on playing Seminole. There’s been a lot of buildup for this week.”
Seminole, which dropped both games in 2016 with Sweetwater, got its seventh straight win on Friday as it defeated Lamesa 38-6.
While a fumble ended the Mustangs’ first series at Fort Stockton, it didn’t take long for Sweetwater to make up for it. On its very first offensive play, Stockton fumbled and Justin Johnson recovered for the Mustangs. Sweetwater then scored as Chris Thompson threw a 7-yard TD pass to Kobe Clark with 8:35 left in the first quarter.
Fort Stockton’s misery continued when Sweetwater recovered an onside kick, followed by a 41-yard TD pass to Clark by Thompson to make it 14-0 just 16 seconds later. Clark then intercepted a pass to set up a 1-yard Thompson TD run with 3:56 left in the first quarter. The only second-quarter score came on a 10-yard Thompson pass to Clark that made the score 27-0 at halftime. Prior to that score, the defense — helped by penalties — held Fort Stockton on downs after it drove to the Mustang 2-yard line.
Sweetwater made it 34-0 on Thompson’s 10-yard third-period run and scored again early in the fourth period when Daniel Avila hit paydirt on a 4-yard run.
The defense, meanwhile, stopped two more Fort Stockton drives deep in the Mustangs’ territory.