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Wednesday, Oct. 1, 2014

Sportsmanship award reflects on community

Sunday, December 7, 2003

Lost in the hoopla of the 58th Annual Poplar Bluff Letter Club Gridiron Banquet on Wednesday, where SEMO Conference linemen of the year are awarded as well as the prestigious Carr Trophy, was Sikeston High School's award.

For the first time ever, the Southeast Missouri officials, comprised of 18 different crews, selected the school with the top sportsmanship.

When the votes were tallied, Sikeston was the school that stood out above the rest, as they were given the first ever sportsmanship award at the banquet.

"I think it's really a prestigious honor that we were selected as the first recipient of the award," said Sikeston head football coach Charlie Vickery, who announced his resignation last month. "I think it shows what type of kids we had out on the field. I think that's really what your program's all about. You know, having some class. I think it's an honor for our program to be selected like that."

The award shouldn't come as a surprise. Sikeston has long been known as one of the most hospitable places in Southeast Missouri.

Four years ago, officials voted unanimously that Sikeston was the best place to officiate a game.

But Vickery says the award isn't just a reflection of the coaches and the players, but the town as well, from the fans to the students.

"I think it goes to our student-athletes, to our fans, to our facilities," said Vickery. "It's just a reflection of how we run our program and how we treat people. It's a huge honor because they could pick anybody in Southeast Missouri."

* The 32nd Sikeston Invitational Tournament will kick things off tomorrow at the Sikeston Field House.

Although there are only six teams in this year's field with Kennett and Doniphan dropping out, it could be one of the strongest SIT's in a number of years.

Poplar Bluff, Charleston, Blytheville and Cape Central are all top-notch teams this year. New Madrid County Central is loaded with athletes and appear to be an up-and-comer this season. And Sikeston showed flashes of potential in Friday's game with Dexter.

There isn't an easy game for anybody.

The tournament is broken up into pool play instead of the traditional bracket format.

There will be two games each night except for an off-day Wednesday and Friday, when the championships are played.

Charleston will kick things off with NMCC tomorrow at 6 p.m. And perhaps the top matchup of the entire field will take place at 7:30 when Poplar Bluff plays Blytheville.

Many think this is Blytheville's best team in 10 years while Poplar Bluff features 6-foot-9 junior Tyler Hansbrough, who is one of the most highly recruited prospects in the entire country.

Cape Central, led by 6-foot-8 junior Scott Chestnutt, will take on Blytheville on Tuesday at 6 p.m. Sikeston will play its first game on Tuesday night at 7:30 when they play NMCC.

Poplar Bluff and Cape Central will open things on Thursday followed by Sikeston and Charleston at 7:30.

Friday's games will start at 5:30 with the fifth place matchup. The third place game will start at 7 p.m. while the championship is slated for 8:30.

One of the big rumors swirling around, not just Southeast Missouri, but the state, is that University of North Carolina head coach Roy Williams will be on hand at the Field House to see Hansbrough in person.

Hansbrough didn't play for the Mules in their season-opening loss to Paducah Tilghman on Thursday as he was nursing an Achilles injury.

The word I got is that he is expected to play tomorrow.

I'm one of those, "I'll believe it when I see it" type guys. So I'll take that same approach here.

But it sure would be cool to see Coach Williams in person, even though he's given me plenty of heartburn over the years while at Kansas.