Birmingham, Ala.--It took longer than many expected, but Sweetwater took control of Thursday's Class 1A game late in the first half thanks to a stingy defense and rolled to victory to secure its seventh state title in school history and third in the last four years. In addition to a defense that held Talladega County Central to just 108 yards of total offense, tailback Anthony Landrum earned MVP honors after rushing for 212 yards on 31 carries and four touchdowns to lead the Bulldogs to the title.
Coming into the finals averaging 51.5 points per game and giving up under 10 points per contest, few expected little Talladega County Central to give powerhouse Sweetwater a game. In the opening minutes though it was apparent the Tigers were ready for the challenge as they held Sweetwater to just 63 yards of total offense in the first quarter, but still trailed 8-0 thanks to a special teams play and solid defense by the Bulldogs.
Downing a punt inside the one-yard line, Sweetwater went on the attack on defense and came up with the first big play of the game. A bad pitch by TCC bounced into the endzone where Johnny Lockett recovered for a touchdown. Quarterback Drew Luker threw to an uncovered receiver for the two-point conversion and just like that the Bulldogs were on top.
The outmanned Tigers didn't give in as they answered emphatically on the following possession with a drive to make things interesting. Taking over on the Sweetwater 31 yard line, TCC got on the board on a 30-yard screen pass for a touchdown from quarterback Robert Duncan to fullback Reginald Virges.
Anthony Landrum finished off one of the best careers in Alabama history with three touchdowns in the finals. He finished the year with over 2,000 yards on the ground.
All-everything running back Landrum finally got untracked on the next Sweetwater possession after being shut down by Talladega County Central in the first quarter. Averaging well over 100 yards on the ground this season and scoring 32 touchdowns on just 202 carries, Landrum gained just 24 yards on eight first quarter rushing attempts, but broke things open in the second thanks to one play.
After getting a big break from TCC when the Tigers had 12 men on the field on a fourth and 16 punt by Sweetwater, the Bulldogs drove down to the 17 yard line where Landrum took it over for the score with 4:45 left in the first half. The Bulldogs added to their lead two minutes later when Luker hit a wide open Heath Hill from 18 yards out for the score to put Sweetwater up 22-7 at the half and for all intents and purposes put an end to the suspense in this title match up.
Landrum put his stamp on yet another Sweetwater title in the second half as he added two touchdowns to push his season total to 35 on the year. The second came from 72 yards out to put the Bulldogs up 35-7. Lockett added a 38 yard score with 7:45 left in the game to make it 42-7 and put the finishing touches on a masterful season for Sweetwater.