No high school football team ever wants an open date. But if you've got to have one, there's no better time than a week before district competition.
The Sikeston Bulldogs will have Friday night off and they will return to action on Oct. 25 when they host the Cape Central Tigers in the first round of Class 4, District 1. Good things that open dates bring is a week to heal any injuries a team might have. And it gives the coaching staff two full weeks to prepare for the Tigers, who are the prohibitive district favorite.
Cape Central's wins may look a lot better in the box score than Sikeston's, but both teams are 5-1 on the season, both are 1-0 in conference play, and both are 0-0 in district play.
That's all that matters.
Sikeston's offense showed signs of coming to life in Friday night's game. Quarterback Blake DeWitt continues to be the top offensive weapon for the Bulldogs whether it be throwing or running.
He can run the option effectively, he can throw deep balls as well as short rollout passes. And most importantly, he rarely makes a bad decision.
Tailback Lavar Morgan has been consistent this season. It's just a matter of time before he has a breakout game like he did in last year's NMCC contest. He had 105 all-purpose yardage Friday night and he stepped up in the clutch with the biggest touchdown of his career in overtime. Linebacker Jacob Priday is the best linebacker I've seen this year.
If you think his 100 tackles through the first five games are fudged, then you haven't been watching Bulldog football. Every time a tackle is made you see No. 36 getting up from the pack.
And on Friday night he had several key plays on offense, catching a pass and making some nice moves for a 38-yard gain, and also rushing for 28 yards on three carries. His 12-yard run on Sikeston's first play in overtime set up the game-winning points.
And then you can't forget about Michael Colon, who has caught eight passes for 142 yards in the last two games, many of which are impressive receptions when defenders are draped all over him.
Sikeston's defense is a "bend don't break" unit, but it is usually good enough to win games. Let's face it, three goal line stands in one season is coming through in the clutch. And even though the NMCC quarterback fumbled the snap, there's no reason to think that Sikeston's 'D' wouldn't have made the stop like they did against Jackson and Farmington.
The only thing I would like to see Sikeston's defense do is force more turnovers. And scoring a defensive touchdown wouldn't hurt either. If the offense can continue to grow. And if the defense can just keep plugging away.
And if the special teams continues to provide good field position. Then that may be enough to knock off the Cape Central Tigers in two weeks.
* Judging by NMCC's performance on Friday night, I would be extremely worried if I were the Dexter Bearcats. Yes, NMCC is the seven-time defending Class 3, District 1 champions, and it's their district until they're beat. But let's be honest, Dexter at this point is the favorite.
NMCC's improvement from Week 1 to Friday night's game with Sikeston is night and day. It's not even the same team. Quarterback Remond Willis gets better with each snap and the Eagle defense has done a complete 180.
This is Dexter's best team I've seen in more than 10 years, but I wouldn't be the least bit surprised if the Eagles make it eight in a row this year.