A rivalry renews in Madisonville as Sweetwater looks to keep its season rolling across the ridge and into Sequoyah’s turf.
The Wildcats (3-1) have won three straight, in convincing fashion, and hope to extend to a four-game win streak over the Chiefs (0-4).
But Sequoyah has started to take a drastic shift from the Chiefs of the past few seasons under first year head coach Derrick Vestal.
“I told our staff and our players if you watch them on film and you don’t know anything about their record you would see that they can be pretty good,” Sweetwater coach Mike Martin said. “We know we will get their best (Friday) night. We just have to do what we do very well and we have to do the simple and small things.
“On offense, we have to be more physical blocking and our running backs would have to do a better job of hitting the hole and we will see how it goes.”
Sequoyah will be the most balanced team that Sweetwater has faced — splitting its run and pass plays 57% to 43%. The next closest was Loudon, who ran 30 rushing plays and 19 pass plays in its 31-13 Week 3 loss at Sweetwater.
“I have tried to tell our team all week that Sequoyah does some nice stuff offensively. (Coach Derrick Vestal) has a nice scheme and they can put you in a bind. If they were just a little more consistent on the film we have seen, it is going to be a challenge to try to stop it,” Martin said. “I have tried to say that all week and I think our kids have listened. Our defensive staff, looking at Sequoyah on film, their offense can be very challenging. It will be an interesting matchup to see how our defense holds up.”
Sequoyah has scored 54 points through five games, a year ago that number was at 19. The offense has totaled 1,255 yards — the flexibility of the numbers carries past playcalling.
Cooper Self has thrown for 574 yards and four touchdowns on 51 completions. Kylan Carson leads the run game with 304 yards and a touchdown. Self is nearing 200 yards himself.
Emilio Sanchez has become the most productive receiver, with 148 yards on 15 catches, followed by two touchdowns and 136 yards from Emmit Duff. Josh Ellis has 116 receiving yards on six receptions.
Sequoyah does have 13 turnovers with 10 interceptions. Sweetwater’s defense has intercepted six passes this season.
“I think those kids are playing with what looks like a different effort. With Sweetwater coming over there that place will be jacked up,” Martin said. “I gave our kids an example a couple of years ago. It was 0-0 and one of the best players had been ejected. Before I knew it, we were in a battle right before it opened up.”
The Sweetwater offense has shown itself to be balanced and successful. The Wildcats have picked up 1,396 total offensive yards this season with a game low just south of 300. They have passed for 450 yards and rushed for 797.
Senior running back Malik Arnett is one rushing score shy of 10 on the season - he has 484 rushing yards. Senior quarterback Landen Boyd has thrown four touchdowns — one per game — to three different receivers.
“We are going to do what we have to do. If they want to bring everyone up to stop the run, I have the utmost confidence in our passing game and our receivers. If we can pound it, that is what we are going to do. If we have to throw it, we will throw it,” Martin said. “We have all those components in our arsenal and that is one of those things where you have to see what exactly they are going to do.
Kickoff is set for 7:30 p.m. in Madisonville.