Defensive scores help Maplesville win shootout

Published 12:27 am Saturday, November 19, 2016

Terence Dunlap of Maplesville runs around the corner as the Sweet Water defense pursues. (Photo by Robert Blankenship/Demopolis Times

Terence Dunlap of Maplesville runs around the corner as the Sweet Water defense pursues. (Photo by Robert Blankenship/Demopolis Times)

By Robert Blankenship

Demopolis Times


The Sweet Water Bulldogs stayed within striking distance of Maplesville in the third round of the 1A state playoffs, but late turnovers that turned to scores allowed the Red Devils to pull away to a 60-34 victory.

The Bulldogs remained within 14 points of Maplesville through most of the game, trailing by only seven going into the fourth. But back-to-back interceptions returned for touchdowns and a fumble returned for a touchdown allowed the Red Devils to take a 60-28 lead. Sweet Water would score a final touchdown, making the final 60-34.

The Sweet Water defense had a hard time containing running back Terence Dunlap who rushed for 163 yards on 19 carries, scoring three touchdowns for Maplesville.

Sweet Water relied on a trio of backs — R.J. Rodgers, Shamar Lewis, and Jaylin Johnson — rushing for a combined 235 yards. Each of those runners had one touchdown. Lewis added two receiving touchdowns.

Maplesville got on the board on its first play from scrimmage when Dunlap went 42 yards. The PAT was no good setting Sweet Water up to take its only lead of the game when they marched down field, capping off a 74-yard drive with a one-yard run by Johnson.

Midway through the second, MHS quarterback Brent Schoener found Dunlap on a screen pass that lifted the Red Devils to a 21-7 lead. While Sweet Water cut into that lead just before the half when Jonah Smith hit Lewis for a 12-yard touchdown, making the score 21-14 at the half.

The second half began much like the first with Dunlap taking first play from scrimmage 42 yards into the end zone.

Sweet Water would once again get it back to within a touchdown when Smith found Lewis once again for a 28-yard touchdown, cutting the MHS lead to 28-21.

But, following the same theme, Maplesville would pull away just as Sweet Water got close. With 5:32 to go in the third, Schoener found Michael Harris who avoided defenders along the sideline for a 61-yard touchdown.

Late in the third, Sweet Water would once again get to within a touchdown on a two-yard dive into the end zone by Lewis.

But, SWHS would not get that close again. Several solid drives for the Bulldogs ended in turnovers that went back for scores.

Nathaniel Watson returned an interception 95 yards for a touchdown and Chaz Morris followed with another long interception returned for a score.

Maplesville added another when Smith fumbled on a sack and Tristen Thetford picked up the ball and ran into the end zone.

Rodgers scored the final touchdown for Sweet Water with only 18 seconds to go.

With the win, the Red Devils advance to the state semifinal next Friday with a trip to the state title game on the line.