SIKESTON - The Sikeston ninth grade football team ended its season on Thursday night at Sikeston Public Schools Stadium with an 18-12 loss to Poplar Bluff.
Sikeston's freshman team finishes the season 2-4. The team was undefeated last season as eighth graders.
"We started off the season real well and then we had a lull," said Sikeston junior high coach Gary Silverthorn. "I think it's pretty a deceiving record. Number one, we played a couple of jayvee teams. Plus, we lost a lot of close ones."
Poplar Bluff got the scoring going on a 27-yard field goal in the first quarter.
Sikeston then took the lead at 6-3 on an Apollo Patterson 67-yard run in the first quarter.
The Mules grabbed the lead again in the second quarter on Kyle Luecke's 8-yard run. The two-point conversion made it 11-6 at halftime.
In the third quarter, the Mules' Todd Tinsley broke several tackles and scored on a 65-yard run to lead 18-6.
Sikeston cut the lead to 18-12 in the third quarter when Brandon Williams completed a 31-yard halfback option pass to Patterson for the touchdown.
Neither team was able to score the rest of the way.
"I was real pleased with the way we fought back and made a game of it," said Silverthorn. "Bluff started off beating us off the ball, but we turned things around. I really thought we manhandled them on the line. We moved the ball but we couldn't put it in the end zone. We beat them last year but they've improved. They're a much better team this year."
Tinsley, the younger brother of former Poplar Bluff standouts Austin and Travis, led the Mules with 182 yards on 23 carries.
"Tinsley is a good running back, there's no doubt about it," said Silverthorn. "We stuck him a few times, but he's tough."
Tinsley was held to 83 yards on 27 carries in last year's contest.
Sikeston was led on the ground by Patterson's 175 yards on 22 carries.
"Apollo had a heck of a game," said Silverthorn. "You can't say enough about him. The line blocked well today and we had some good lead blocking for him."
Cullen DeHart had four carries for 11 yards for the Bulldogs.