Brantley travels to Sweet Water Friday in 1A semi-final contest

Published 12:00 am Friday, December 3, 2004

Error free football will be the key this week for all the teams remaining in the Alabama High School Athletic Association's state playoffs.

The third-ranked and undefeated Brantley Bulldogs (13-0) are no exception.

Brantley will travel to west Alabama Friday night to take on the Sweet Water Bulldogs (11-2) in the Class 1A semi-finals at

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7 p.m. at Nolan-Atkins Stadium.

Sweet Water's Head Coach Kelly Luker believes the Bulldog team that makes the fewest errors will come away the victor.

"I think it comes down to that old clich/ of who ever has the least turnovers and mistakes will win," he said. "I just think at this time of the year, if you can play mistake free football, then it definitely gives you an edge."

Brantley's Head Coach David Lowery agrees, but further explained that his team's defensive play would be the key to his Bulldogs winning.

"If we can play good defense will be the key," Lowery said. "If we can stop them, I think we've got a chance, but we're going to have to play real good defense."

Brantley, which is known for its high-octane running game, has relied on its defense the past couple of weeks to help them pull out wins including last week's quarterfinal victory over American Christian, 17-16. All phases of the Bulldogs' game plan shakes up their upcoming opponent.

"They're good," Luker said. "Heck, they're 25-1 over the last two years. They have a great tradition and I'm impressed by how well coached they are and they're skill. They've got tons of skilled football players. They are a legitimate state championship caliber football team."

Sweet Water doesn't have the luxury of senior experience like Brantley does. The Bulldogs only have three seniors on roster and several eighth and ninth graders. Lowery doesn't believe Sweet Water's youth will be a big factor in the game.

"They don't play like they're young," Lowery said. "I think most of those guys have been playing a year or two anyways, so those tenth and eleventh graders are playing a lot older than they really are."

Senior running back Devaris Skanes, who has rushed for over 1,300 yards and scored over 20 touchdowns, is the workhorse for Brantley on offense. Skanes also plays a key role for the Bulldogs on defense along with senior defensive backs Zach Kilcrease, Antwuan Foster and Lance Myers and hard-hitters Jeffrey Daniels, Scotty Abadilla and Marcus Owens.

"I don't know how to solve them," Luker said. "They do so many good things offensively. I think they're going to put a lot of pressure on us defensively because of the things they can do and the speed that they have.

"Offensively, I think it's going to be a game of tempo for both teams. I believe who ever is controlling the ball offensively is definitely going to have the upper hand and to me that's all about the tempo of the game."

Sweet Water is led by freshman running back Anthony Landrum, who's chalked up 1,239 yards and 26 touchdowns and junior quarterback Deon Williams who has 1,368 yards and 11 touchdowns, while only being picked off twice.

"They're very explosive on offense," Lowery said.

Kickoff is at 7 p.m.