SWEENY — Who finishes atop the District 11-4A D-II standings could be determined in the next two Fridays as Sweeny moves into its league schedule.
The Bulldogs open district play at La Marque this week then host the Wharton Tigers, the team that handed them their only blemish last season.
This year’s 3-2 Sweeny team is a much younger work in progress as the Bulldogs take on the 2-3 Cougars at 7:30 p.m. Friday at Etheredge Stadium. They’re also a team on a roll, beating Bellville (24-7) and Fulshear (28-17) in consecutive weeks before last week’s bye.
“I know that we still need to run the ball more effectively, but we threw the ball real well against Bellville,” Sweeny coach Randy Lynch said. “Their defensive front was real good, but we need to find a way to run the ball, because that is who we are. We just haven’t found a way to get loose, but our quarterback is throwing the ball pretty well and our receivers are catching it pretty well.”
Sweeny averaged 323.6 yards a game during its nondistrict season, running for 851 yards and throwing for 767. Sophomore Xavier Woods is still leading the runners with 66 carries for 308 yards and three touchdowns.
“He tweaked his ankle early and he’s had to tape it up every time, which has turned into a somewhat nagging injury,” Lynch said. “The week off probably did him good. He’s still running tough, but we haven’t had too many holes to work with. Our line has been working hard and has been trying to get things done.”
Three sophomores, two juniors and a senior tight end, who didn’t play football the past two seasons, make up the offensive line.
“They’ve been working hard, coming in early in the morning lifting weights and just trying to get better, which they are,” Lynch said. “They are a fun group to work with and are very intelligent.”
Quarterback Trey Robbins, a first-year-starter has thrown for all of Sweeny’s passing yards this season off 40 completions with 76 attempts. The senior has found the end zone six times with only one interception.
“We have some guys who are running good routes and our play-action game has been real effective for us,” Lynch said. “But Trey, he can throw a pretty accurate ball, and at times, some of our receivers have gone up and made plays as well. Justice Clemons, Collin Coker and Justin Garner have been playing well on their side. It was good for Trey to get back over 50 percent of completing his passes, and we’d like to be at 60 percent.”
Clemons leads the receivers with 13 catches for 346 yards, a 26.62 per-catch average. He’s scored three touchdowns with his longest going for 65 yards. Coker (6-136, 18.50 per catch, TD) and Garner (5-107, 21.40 per catch, TD) have also been effective.
The Cougars are third in the district in offensive production with 167.4 yards a game while second on defense, giving up 273.8 yards a contest. Sophomore quarterback Armond Robinson (14-of-41 attempts, 291 yards, two TDs, three INTs) is in charge on the offensive side of the ball with freshman Marquis Tarver (38-118 yards, TD) leading the runners.
This is the sixth meeting between the Bulldogs and Cougars. Sweeny earned its first victory in the series last year, 26-0.
“On film defensively they returned a lot of guys,” Lynch said. “They struggled in their last two games and it showed. They’ve had two weeks to prepare for us and they are still very talented. They are still La Marque and here lately they’ve been able to get in some practices, which is a concern of mine. Their defensive line is real big and we are not, which is another concern of mine. Their linebackers and secondary have some speed and are very athletic. On offense, they are big up front, but their quarterback makes them go. He is just a sophomore but plays bigger than that.”