The Bulldogs lost to Cape Central 30-13 on Friday night at SPS Stadium in the opener of Class 4, District 1.
Cape improves to 1-0 in district play and will get 13 points for the win. Sikeston is now 0-1 in district play and will be -13 in the standings.
The Tigers also clinched at least a share of the SEMO North crown for first time since 1993. Sikeston falls to 1-1 in conference play.
The loss is Sikeston's third straight to the Tigers, who have gone on to win the district championship the last two years.
But this Tigers team, which improved to 7-1, may be the best one yet.
Led by all-state defensive back Monroe Hicks, the Tigers, ranked No. 9 in Class 4 and No. 2 in the SEMO regional poll, seem to have every phase of the game covered, from special teams to offense to defense.
"They're a very good football team," said Sikeston head coach Charlie Vickery. "They do a lot of things offensively, they've got a sound defense and their kicking game was very good. They put you in a hole with their kicking game. They didn't do anything that we didn't prepare for, you've just got to make sure you make the plays."
The Tigers controlled the line of scrimmage on both sides of the ball which set the tone for the entire night.
Hicks took full advantage of his line as he racked up 180 yards rushing on 26 attempts with two TD runs. He also had 54 yards receiving on four catches with a TD. He intercepted two passes and he had a 67-yard punt return for a touchdown, but had it called back due to a holding penalty.
"He's an all-state player -- he's a very special athlete," said Cape Central head coach Lawrence Brookins. "He's not the biggest guy, but he's blessed with ability. He's fun to watch, isn't he?"
Maybe for Tigers fans.
After a scoreless first quarter, Hicks got things going for the Tigers when he scored on a 5-yard run with 5:02 left in the half to lead 7-0.
The senior then made a sensational interception on a Blake DeWitt pass at the Bulldog 30.
"The interception was awesome," Brookins said. "It was a college-type play."
Hicks covered the 30 yards on three carries, scoring on a 16-yard run to lead 14-0 with 2:52 left in the half.
After forcing a Sikeston punt, the Tigers ran the no-huddle offense to get into Bulldog territory. Colin Schermann then booted a 46-yard field goal as time expired to give the Tigers a 17-0 lead at the half.
Schermann also had field goals from 43 and 24 yards in the fourth quarter.
"I felt like it could've easily been a 7-0 game at the half, but it's just a matter that they made the plays and we didn't," said Vickery, whose team falls to 5-2. "We felt like we were right there, especially early. They were able to capitalize on all of our mistakes and that's the sign of a good team."
The Tigers put the game out of reach in the third quarter when quarterback Mitch Craft found Hicks for an 18-yard TD reception on 3rd-and-15 with 4:09 left in the third quarter. Schermann's extra point made it 24-0.
After a Schermann field goal, Sikeston broke the shutout when DeWitt kept the option and scored from 11 yards out. It capped a 9-play, 72-yard drive with 7:32 left in the game to make it 27-6.
Brookins expressed concern in containing DeWitt before the game. DeWitt finished with 57 yards rushing on seven attempts, but he was just 5-of-15 passing for 52 yards with a pair of interceptions.
"I thought we did a real good job against him," said Brookins. "He's a good player, he's a good athlete. I'm glad we were able to hold him in check. Every time he had the ball I kind of held my breath a little bit. He does a good job with his play fakes and throwing. We must've done a decent job covering for most of the night."
Cape Central's Brandon Twiggs returned the ensuing kick 87 yards before being tackled on the 3-yard line by Lavar Morgan.
Morgan's touchdown saving effort proved to be huge as Sikeston's defense stood firm on the goal line, forcing a 24-yard field goal.
Although the score was out of reach, it was Sikeston's resolve at that moment that caught Vickery's eye.
"They returned the kickoff but we stayed with it and finally tackled him on the two," said Vickery. "They had three straight shots from the 2-yard line and they didn't get it in there. The game's out of reach at that point -- the game's over, but our guys weren't going to let them in. That just shows what type of kids you've got."
Sikeston responded with one final drive that covered 68 yards on 10 plays. Backup quarterback Drew Lawrence engineered the drive, converting a couple of fourth downs in the process, including a fourth down, 23-yard TD pass to Lawrence Davis with 1:06 left in the game to make it 30-13.
"I thought Sikeston gave us everything they could give us," said Brookins. "I love coming here. It's a great field, the fans are good here and we're treated good when we come here.
Everything went just like I thought, except I didn't know we could score 30 points. It's a big win. I was worried about this one."
Craft was held to negative two yards rushing on nine attempts. He was just 7-of-13 passing for 78 yards with two interceptions.
The Tigers finished with 292 yards of offense. Sikeston managed 218 yards of offense with much of it coming in the fourth quarter.
"It was a physical ballgame but we didn't get anybody hurt," said Vickery. "I really expect our team to bounce back the next two weeks and go 7-2. I feel good about it and I'm looking forward to next week."
Sikeston will host SEMO North rival Poplar Bluff while Cape Central will host Perryville.