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Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Bizzell honored with all-state

Wednesday, December 22, 2004

(Photo)
J.R. Bizzell
(right with the ball)
SIKESTON - Following the most successful season in the Sikeston soccer program's history, two players were recognized with post season honors by the Missouri Soccer Coaches Association.

Senior J.R. Bizzell was selected as a first team all-state forward while sophomore Blake Taylor was named an honorable mention all-state forward.

The Bulldog team was also recognized as they finished ranked 10th in Class 2 with a final record of 12-11-1.

Sikeston won its first district championship ever this year with a triple overtime victory against longtime nemesis Notre Dame.

The Bulldogs were eliminated in the following round by eventual state runnerup Affton, 3-1.

(Photo)
Blake Taylor
Bizzell finished the year with 25 goals and 25 assists. He is the second all-state performer in school history alongside Adam Garrett, who was selected as a second team player in 2001.

"He was definitely a catalyst on our team -- a go-to guy," said Sikeston coach Derrick Long. "When he finished the season with as many assists as he had goals, that just shows you what a team player he is. I think he definitely deserves first team. J.R.'s talking with a few colleges so I think he'll keep going with soccer. Getting honored in this way is a big deal."

Taylor was also a standout performer for the Bulldogs, collecting a team-leading 26 goals with 14 assists.

"I really thought Blake would get second team, but it's still big getting an honorable mention because there's a lot of good players in our class," said Long.

But Long wasn't expecting his peers to put the Bulldogs among the top 10 in the state on the final rankings.

He says his team's strong performance against Affton, which featured the offensive player of the year in Anel Ibrcic, is what got the Bulldogs some statewide respect.

"It's a real nice gesture -- just being considered is big," said Long. "It just helps our program. It just shows when you work hard at practice then good things will happen. This year we had a great group that worked real hard. We kind of struggled at the beginning of the year and we came together throughout the middle and at the end we started playing together as a team. In years to come I can look back on this and let the players know, 'look what they did.' That's how you have to work to get there.

"Just knowing that we went into that final eight playing against a team like that and we played them tough until the last four minutes. We were in the game the whole way. Just knowing all that makes it a great ending to the season."

This season marked the first time in school history the Bulldogs finished over .500 in soccer.