Bulldogs expect hefty challenge from Sweetwater

Published 5:03 pm Thursday, November 3, 2016


When Sweetwater rolls into Hampton Friday night for the first rounds of the TSSAA Class 2A Playoffs, every Bulldog is going to have to be firing on all cylinders.
The Wildcat are 7-3 on the season and will be coming out Region 1-2A as the third seed. Sweetwater boasts a sizable line, a sizeable receiver, and a speedy back. Last year, in the opening round of the playoffs, Hampton stomped Sweetwater 48-7. However, the Bulldogs are not letting last year’s outcome skew their perception of the wilyWildcats.
Sweetwaters’ ground attack is anchored by junior running back Ethan Holly, who Hampton head coach Michael Lunsford has taken note of after seeing him compete against the Austin-East Roadrunners earlier in the season.
“He is quicker that a cat,” Lunsford said. “He was fast against Austin-East, and Austin-East is super fast.”
“The way Sweetwater makes you play is a gap-control thing, and so anybody that is out of position is going to give up something,” Lunsford added. “We have to be disciplined in our gap control.”
However, the ‘Dogs can not get too focused on Holly. Downfield the Wildcats like to look to 6’4 wide receiver Brett Spurgeon, who has no problem going up and outreaching his opponents to the ball. The senior receiver uses his size and agility to pick up many yards after the catch. With this threat, it will be crucial for the Hampton defensive secondary to play its best game of the season.
“Our defensive backs have to play well,” Lunsford said. “Chris Holtsclaw, Hunter Davenport, and Dakota Crumley have to really play well, probably their best game.”
Offensively for Hampton, the goal will be to do what they do best, and that is to beat their opponents on the ground. And the Bulldogs definitely have the weapons to do that. Behind a powerful offensive line consisting of Ty Breland, Danny Winters, and Austin Boling, the Bulldogs racked up more than 490 yards of rushing with McClain tacking on more than 230 yards and Davenport running for 160 yards on just three carries during the Bulldogs’ 62-6 win over Cumberland Gap.
In the air, Hampton QB Jason Russell was 6-of-11 for 75 yards and a touchdown. The Bulldogs’ passing game is something that developed slowly over the season but could come in handy to put postseason opponents off balance.
Friday’s contest will kick at 7 p.m. inside J.C. Campbell Stadium. Make sure to get there early because there will be plently of Hampton faithful to fill up the stands.

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