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Friday, Aug. 26, 2016

Bulldogs dragged down by Knights

Sunday, October 3, 2004

Sikeston's Felante Larry tries to shake Farmington's Michael Zaricore.
SIKESTON - The Sikeston Bulldogs football team had its best offensive performance of the year but they still couldn't hold off the Farmington Knights on homecoming night, falling 34-13 at SPS Stadium.

The Bulldogs racked up 310 yards of offense, by far their best total of the season, but they could only muster 13 points despite a season-high 17 first downs.

The Bulldogs' previous high in yardage was 196 against Charleston in Week 2.

"That's our best output of the year, but the bottom line is you have to put it in the end zone," said Sikeston coach Jerry Dement. "I thought at times we did a good job. Then in the second half we'd get a drive going and then we'd have a silly penalty. That's what I'm upset about as much as anything, just losing our discipline when times are tough."

But while the offense showed signs of life, the defense didn't show up for a half, which proved to be the difference as they allowed 19 first-quarter points.

Apollo Patterson
"We're giving up big plays defensively and that's been the story since Week 1," said Dement. "We hold, hold, hold, then give up a big play. We've worked on it, told them what to do, coached them on what to do -- at some point it boils down to the kids just have to make plays. It's time to step up and make them. It's been time."

In the early going it looked like the Bulldogs were going to be blown out. The Knights scored on their first play from scrimmage as Stuart Sago used a play-action pass to hit a wide open John Roark for a 65-yard touchdown just 12 seconds into the game.

Sikeston bounced back with a nice drive into Knight territory but a fumble ended the series at the 41.

Farmington (5-0) wasted little time to score as Travis Ribbing ran in from 13 yards out to make it 13-0 with 7:15 left in the first. The play was set up by a fake punt by the Knights when Josh Kimrey took the direct snap and ran 37 yards down the right sideline.

Sikeston (0-5) came right back with a seven-play, 68-yard drive capped by a 12-yard touchdown run on a reverse to Felante Larry to cut the lead to 13-7 with 3:28 left in the first.

On Farmington's ensuing drive, the Bulldogs held the Knights to a 4th-and-17, but tight end Dwayne Glaspy somehow got behind the Bulldog defense and Sago found him wide open in the end zone for a 36-yard scoring strike, pushing the lead to 19-7.

Sikeston responded with perhaps their best offensive drive of the year, marching 80 yards on 15 plays capped by an Apollo Patterson 7-yard TD run to cut the lead to 19-13 with 6:23 left in the half.

But just as quickly as Sikeston had the momentum of the game on their side, Farmington needed just one play again to score. Sago avoided two sacks and rolled out of the pocket where he found Roark, who beat a double team, and scored on a 59-yard play, extending the lead to 26-13.

"That's mental breakdowns," said Dement. "The kids have to trust what we're teaching them. We've got guys in the secondary that have to play smarter. Until they do that, we're going to continue to get beat deep. That's just a lack of mental discipline."

Sikeston had numerous opportunities to get back in the game in the third quarter but three times the Bulldogs had drives thwarted in the red zone. One drive ended with an interception in the end zone.

The Bulldogs also got inside the 10-yard line on another drive but it ended on downs.

"We got ourselves in scoring position a couple times and didn't do anything with it," said Dement. "Part of that may be my play calling, I don't know. We just have to execute better on both sides of the ball. We ran the ball pretty effectively tonight and I thought our offensive line at times really showed what they could do when they stick with their assignments. At times Bryce (Wibbenmeyer) threw the ball well. But we had some kids wide open that we're not hitting that could get us some big plays."

The Bulldogs had 211 yards of offense at the half but only managed 99 yards in the second half.

"The defense played great in the second half, we were really proud of the way they played," said Farmington coach John Bacon. "We shut them out and really turned it up. That whole third quarter we had terrible field position and they had great field position and our defense hung in there. We were really proud of the way they performed with their backs against the wall."

But Sikeston's defense, despite the disastrous first half, played very well in the second half. The Knights' only score came after a bad snap on a Bulldog punt attempt left them with a short field at the 10-yard line in the fourth quarter. Sago punched it in from one yard out for the Knights' final score of the game with 7:47 left.

Sikeston limited Farmington to just 71 yards in the second half after allowing 274 in the first half.

"We played real well offensively in the first half and in the second half it was a field position thing and we were a little more conservative," said Bacon. "The kids did what we needed to do, we hung onto the football."

Sikeston put together one final drive in the game as they marched as far as the Farmington 9-yard line. Wibbenmeyer connected with B. J. Green for a 10-yard scoring strike but it was erased with a penalty.

The Bulldogs never could get into the end zone after that.

Sago was 6-of-15 passing for 203 yards with three touchdowns. Roark caught four passes for 151 yards.

Ribbing led the ground assault with 57 yards on seven carries.

Wibbenmeyer set season highs in attempts, completions and yards as he was 13-of-29 for 128 yards.

Larry caught seven passes for 91 yards. He had 136 yards all-purpose.

Patterson rushed for a season-high 98 yards on 28 carries. Acie Dixon added a season-high 58 yards on nine carries.

"They've got a big, physical line and they've got some good running backs," said Bacon. "We knew they were going to be good and we felt like they were a team that was ready to start performing well. I thought, offensively, they did tonight."

The Bulldogs are now 0-5 to start the season for the first time since 1974. They will search for their first win next Friday when they host New Madrid County Central at 7 p.m.

"We're just not playing very well -- we're not playing smart," said Dement. "At times we show flashes of doing things right on both sides of the football, and then we go back to making a mistake or two and it just compounds itself. It's very frustrating. The coaches are tired of it and the kids are tired of it. We're going to double our efforts and try to improve."