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Sunday, July 31, 2016

Foundation set for next year

Sunday, November 10, 2002

The Sikeston Bulldog wrapped up their season on Thursday in the same fashion that they played this year, with dominating defense.

The gold pant-clad Bulldogs posted a 33-6 win against Perryville, which ranks as one of the team's best performances of the season. And that was on the heels of the game that probably does rank as the team's best performance of the year, a 33-16 win over Poplar Bluff, also in gold pants.

By the way, that's 4-0 in the gold this year.

But anyway, it's safe to say that Sikeston was playing its best football during district time. The only catch was that they had to open district play with Cape Central, one of the state's top five teams in Class 4.

But the foundation is set for next year.

Sikeston returns many key regulars, including quarterback Blake DeWitt, linebackers Jacob Priday and Nathan Eaves and receiver Scotty Keenan.

Priday turned in an all-state caliber season with, prior to the Perryville game, 157 tackles, three interceptions, two quarterback sacks, and countless tackles for loss. I saw several top linebackers this year, including Cape Central's highly touted Jeremiah Dukes, and Priday ranks right up there with him.

DeWitt, in his first season as the starting QB, played like a seasoned veteran. The junior threw for 771 yards this year and led the team with 547 rushing yards. He scored 78 points, which is among the top 10 in the area.

And all of these statistics are through nine games since Sikeston had an open date.

The Bulldogs will have to find somebody to replace tailback Lavar Morgan. The senior finished his two-year career with 1,270 yards and 15 touchdowns.

Also graduating will be leading receiver Michael Colon, who had 23 catches for 284 yards. He also was a starting defensive back with two interceptions and more than 40 tackles. He had 59 tackles with an interception last year. Two-year starting safety Tori Rose will also have to be replaced. He was the Bulldogs' second leading tackler heading into the final game with 75 stops. He got his second career interception against Perryville. Rose had 56 tackles with one pick last year.

Fullback Josh Monroe finished with 322 career rushing yards and 136 receiving yards. But he will be most remembered for his performance against eventual Class 3A runnerup New Madrid County Central when he scored two touchdowns.

Tight end Lawrence Davis was the Bulldogs' silent assassin as he quietly put together a solid year. The senior caught just four passes, but three of them went for touchdowns, which led all Bulldog receivers. His 31 yards per catch was also tops on the team.

Senior Drew Lawrence, the starting quarterback last year, made several appearances this year and demonstrated in the season finale why head coach Charlie Vickery had such a tough decision in choosing a starter.

Lawrence rushed for 74 yards on five carries against Perryville while displaying some nice open field moves. In limited action he finished with 119 yards rushing this year, three more than all of last season.

DeWitt and Lawrence had eerily similar passing stats in their two years as starters. DeWitt completed 48-of-108 passes with five TDs and five INTs for 771 yards. Lawrence was 51-of-102 for 702 yards with four TDs and five INTs.

Regardless of who the starter was, if one or the other went down, Vickery probably felt safe with either backup. That's a nice problem to have.

There are many other seniors, including linemen, that need to be mentioned. But these here are the ones that played a major role the last two years.