Tornadoes hit SW with a late surge

Ron Howell
Sports Editor

As the third quarter started to wind down at Mustang Bowl on Friday, it was looking pretty hopeful that Sweetwater’s football team would finally chalk up its first win.
Sweetwater was leading 18-13 in front of an appreciative homecoming crowd. The Mustangs also had the ball at Lamesa’s 35 in trying to build a two-score advantage.
But with 46 seconds left in the quarter, things would begin to unravel as the Golden Tornadoes intercepted a pass to end the threat.
The fourth quarter began, though, with Lamesa at its 34-yard line and faced with a fourth-and-4. Surprisingly, the Tornadoes decided not to punt the ball away.
Lamesa instead went for it and converted. And that started a tsunami of bad things to come as it all began to go downhill for the Mustangs.
The fourth-down conversion led to a Lamesa touchdown and 21-18 lead in the fourth quarter. And Lamesa (2-5, 1-2 district) was just starting as it scored 36 points in the period en route to a 49-30 win.
There were seven fourth-quarter touchdowns, five by Lamesa, which was leading 35-24 when the Golden Tors’ 102-yard interception return for a score put the biggest dagger in the Mustangs. It was their sixth turnover and most costly.
Sweetwater (0-6, 0-2 district) scored when Leo Holsey threw a 76-yard pass to Darian Carr for a touchdown with 2:52 left. But the Tornadoes recovered the onsides kick and scored on their first play after taking over to remove any doubts to the outcome.
The turnovers, penalties and other mistakes killed any hopes for that elusive first win, said head coach Ben McGehee. “You can’t turn the ball over six times,” he said. “We didn’t tackle very well on defense. Those are the things that really stood out to me.
“We made a lot of penalties and just played sloppy football. We’ve got to clean it up.”
The Tornadoes’ end zone interception was the second one Friday as the Mustangs’ Elijah Reyes had earlier turned the trick to preserve that 18-13 Sweetwater lead. Holsey scored on a 1-yard TD run at 9:06 in the third quarter to give the Mustangs the lead, capping a drive that was set up by a 45-yard Markus Meneses return to the Tornadoes’ 34 on the second half kickoff.
The first half had its share of mistakes by Sweetwater as well, including two that wiped out touchdowns on back-to-back plays to preserve Lamesa’s 13-12 lead at halftime.
Sweetwater took only its second lead of the season at the start, on a 31-yard pass on fourth-and-14 from Holsey to Damian Atkins.
Lamesa took its first lead, 7-6, in the second quarter on a 21-yard TD run following an interception one play earlier, and the PAT kick. Aaron Aguilar's 65-yard kick return later in the period for Sweetwater was negated by a fumble that led to another Lamesa score. However, Holsey’s 14-yard pass to Atkins narrowed the lead to 13-12 before the half.
Sweetwater visits Pecos (1-6, 0-3 in district) on Friday at 7 p.m. Pecos lost to Midland Greenwood 41-13 this week.

Sweetwater's Darian Carr (22) and Cade Needham (33) bring down a Lamesa runner at Mustang Bowl on Friday.
Photo by Kevin Wright