Coach Royal Carpenter talks Sweetwater

Sweetwater is the two-time defending state champion in Alabama's Class 1A, and Coach Royal Carpenter of Speake knows his team has a huge mountain to climb Friday at 3:00 PM. Coach Carpenter discussed the game with

The Speake Bobcats have had a dream season to this point. They avenged a regular season loss to the Hazlewood Golden Bears in the second round of the playoffs, which catapulted the Bobcats to success never known by the tiny community of Speake, (Ala.).

The Bobcats will feature star running back, Dez Polk along with a big defensive front anchored by K.C. Orr, and Demetrae Griffin.

Griffin was the most talented defensive lineman in Northwest Alabama when I first saw him as a freshman, and nothing much has changed since that time.

While Speake is having their best season in the history of the school the team they face in the 1A state title game has been a mainstay at the Super Six over the past four years.

The Sweetwater Bulldogs have won the last two state titles, and they are looking to make it a three-peat.

The Bulldogs have scored in bunches this season, and Coach Carpenter is well aware of that fact. He discussed the Bulldogs vaunted offense.

"They are the best team we've seen on film," Coach Carpenter said from his home in Lawrence County, (Ala.).

"They have tremendous athletes all over the field. They run 11 into the game on offense, and they run 11 more in on defense. That is unusual at a 1A school."

"Our kids will play both ways as they have all season, so that is a concern late in the game."

"We will have to play our best game of the year to stay with them. We will just back our ears and get after them and see where that takes us."

"Their backs are very talented, and you cannot tell any difference in the first three or four. They're all very good. We will have to try and control the ball, score points, and shorten the game."

Tim's take:

The Bobcats have an uphill battle as they try to unseat the Bulldogs from Sweetwater, and Coach Carpenter understands that better than anyone. But, the Bobcats aren't a bad team with the likes of Polk, Orr, Griffin and others helping out their team. If the Bobcats were playing a normal team I would pick them to win the state title, but the Bulldogs aren't your normal 1A team.

If the Bobcats can have some early success and catch a few breaks they stand a chance. Anything less and they might get blown out.

Players to keep a watchful eye:

Dez Polk is an exciting back who has both speed and elusiveness.

K.C. Orr is a big defensive end who is receiving a lot of interest from schools around the area.

Demetrae Griffin is one of the best defensive linemen you see at the Super Six.

As coach Carpenter says, the Bulldogs are loaded with talented athletes, but here is a couple to watch.

Johnny Lockett is a talented running back who had what many consider his biggest game of the season when he rushed for 178 yards and two touchdowns as the Bulldogs defeated 4A Thomasville. chose Lockett as "Star of Alabama" for week one of the 2008 season.

Antonio Landrum was an All-State honorable mention in 2007 as a defensive back.

Track all Alabama high school prospects by subscribing to for as little as $7.95 a month which includes all premium content across the network and all video.


(return to front page here)

Preps AL Top Stories