Photo via John Glaser, TexasHSFootball.com

 

In the 2016 season, the Sweetwater Mustangs were almost impossible to slow down. Led by quarterback Chris Thompson, they piled up points on just about every single team they faced.

The Mustangs were rolling through the playoffs, taking victory after victory from games that most thought they would lose. Sweetwater made it all the way to the title game, where they met only one of two defenses that could slow them down: a borderline legendary squad from West Orange-Stark.

Sweetwater had been slowed before, they lost a 19-16 game to Monahans in the regular season. This was something different. The only Mustang score came from a Luke James fumble recovery that he brought back all the way, the rest of the time Sweetwater was stymied.

There’s no shame in losing that way, though. West Orange-Stark was a juggernaut, in 16 games their defense put on 10 shutout performances (Silsbee scored a safety and Sweetwater on a fumble recovery, their offenses did not score).

With an incredibly talented group of seniors graduating, brand new head coach Ben McGehee, who also comes from a 2016 state finalist in Temple, will have his work cut out for him.

Key Losses

WR/CB Luke James, RB/LB Jacoby Hunt, WR Jordan McGee, LB Hunter Mobley, DT/G Tate Rainey

So, yeah, Sweetwater will lose a lot from their excellent crew, more than can be named in the format for these articles. Their lines were excellent all year long, and their explosiveness was largely due to guys like Luke James, Jordan McGee, and Jacoby Hunt.

Key Returners

QB Chris Thompson, WR Kobe Clark, OLB/FB Kiante McCoy WR/DB Isak Alvarez

Here’s the good news for Sweetwater: They return Chris Thompson and Kobe Clark, who have the potential to take the top off a defense at any given time. On the defensive side of the ball, district defensive MVP Kiante McCoy and tough defensive back Isak Alvarez return to guide the Mustang defense.

The Verdict

It’s always tough to break in a new head coach, but Ben McGehee has just about every tool he could ask for. Sweetwater loses a lot of their weapons, yes, but the returners, especially Thompson and McCoy, should give McGehee a good foundation to build upon.

Sweetwater will still be a very dangerous team, and it would be completely ludicrous to say that they’re not going to challenge people in the playoffs. I still think that they don’t have as much firepower as they did last year, and that will definitely hurt as they attempt to make their way back to the state championship.

 

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