The Southwest Covenant Patriots are feeling growing pains with its football program.
The Patriots opened their season Friday against last year’s Class B state runnerup, Dewar. The Dragons’ experience showed, topping SWC 56-16.
The Patriots are facing the challenge of replacing most of its backfield from last year’s state playoff qualifying team, including quarterback Ben Webb and runningback Will Haas.
Friday, the quarterback duties were handled by a trio players, led by Kyler Beshears, who finished the night hitting 10 of 20 passes for 65 yards. He also rushed the ball seven times for 31 yards.
The Patriots were led on the ground by Bryson Ford, who finished with seven carries for 49 yards.
Tyler Kelly had eight carries for 11 yards. He also scored one of two touchdowns for the Patriots. That score came in the first quarte on a five-yard run.
SWC struggled against a stiff defense from the Dragons and were held to 86 yards on the ground and 66 yards through the air.
The Patriots finished the night with 10 first downs, compared to 21 for the Dragons.
Dewar finished the night with 601 yards of total offense, including 303 through the air and 298 yards on the ground.
SWC’s second score of the night came in the third quarter when freshman Zeke Williams intercepted the ball in the endzone and raced 79 yards to the opposite endzone to pull within 10 points, at 26-16.
That was as close as the Patriots would get, though they did move the ball before Dewar’s defense stepped up.
SWC coach Trey Cloud said despite the loss, he was pleased with how his team performed.
“We’re young. … At our skill positions, we’re kind of lacking. We’ve got a couple of guys who are beat up that we’re nursing back to health,” Cloud said.
The coach said his team ran out of energy, in part because of the heat.
At game time, it was more than 95 degrees and there was little wind.
Dewar’s Baylor Selby was taken to a local hospital after suffering from breathing issues in the third quarter.
“It is the hottest day of the year,” Cloud said, explaining that he pulled a few players for safety reasons.
The team also substituted players more often than normal.
“At that point, it didn’t matter. I am to get them back into contact and nursing them back to health,” he said.
SWC has been a dominant team over the past several years in Class C football. However, because of that success, they were forced to move to Class B this season.
Cloud said he expects the competition to be tougher.
“We’ve got a lot of talent down there, just got to give them time. That’s what this does,” he said.
The Patriots are set to face Summit Christian on Friday. Kickoff is set for 7 p.m. at Taylor Park.