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Monday, Aug. 29, 2016

SHS runs by Bluejays

Sunday, September 9, 2007

Sikeston's Gaviland Bland breaks away from a Charleston tackler.
SIKESTON -- On Friday night at the Sikeston Public Schools Stadium, Gaviland Bland provided the shoulders and Jarian Wims carried the load.

Bland ran for 105 yards and four touchdowns while Wims added another rushing TD on a game-high 136 yards as the Sikeston Bulldogs rolled over the Charleston Blue Jays 35-14.

Sikeston, which had won a total of three games during its last two seasons, improved to 2-0 overall for the first time since 2002. Charleston, which began its 2006 campaign with two consecutive wins, fell to 0-2 overall.

"I'm proud that this team is 2-0 after two weeks," Sikeston head coach Kent Gibbs said. "We haven't played mistake-free football, but we are happy to be winning."

The Bulldogs leaned on Bland when they needed to reach the end zone during the first half. He had TD runs of 2, 1 and 10 yards during the first 24 minutes as Sikeston built a 21-0 lead.

Chareleston's quarterback Chase McClendon is tackled by a Sikeston defender.
"Once again, Gaviland played with reckless abandon," Gibbs said. "His running helped us put the game away at Caruthersville and it certainly gave us a huge lift in this win over Charleston."

"We were not able to stop the run this week, just like what happened to us at Kennett last week," Charleston head coach Dan Kesselring said. "Until we're able to stop teams from running all over us, we will not be a good football team."

"I'm happy for the success that I'm having on the field, but we need the sophomores to step up and help lead this team. They're young, but I know they have the ability to help us," Bland said.

And that is exactly what Wims, a sophomore, accomplished on Friday.

Wims, who was inserted into the Sikeston lineup at fullback after fellow sophomore running back Eli Jackson was sidelined with a foot injury in Week 1, was the SHS rusher who gave the Charleston defense something else to stop whenever Bland wasn't terrorizing the Blue Jays.

Sikeston led 14-0 after 10-minutes, 16-seconds ticked off the clock in the first quarter. The Bulldogs received the opening kickoff and marched 59 yards in 10 plays to the end zone on a drive that was capped by Bland's 2-yard run off left tackle and Josh Carlyle's extra-point kick.

Charleston threatened to score on its opening possession after driving to the Sikeston 9-yard line with a march that covered 66 yards. Quarterback Chase McClendon connected with Blue Jays' wideout Matt Medlock on a 53-yard passing play along the way before being intercepted by Bulldogs defensive back JuQualin Wiggins at the SHS 6.

What followed was a Sikeston scoring drive that chewed up 91 yards on only six snaps. The key play came from Bulldogs' tight end Brandon Wright, who rambled for 45 yards to the Charleston 1 after catching a pass from quarterback Charlie Bohannon and slipping past Blue Jays' defensive back Marquez Ware. Bland's 1-yard TD run and Carlyle's extra-point kick gave SHS a 14-0 lead.

"When I think about all that happened last year, and I look around and see what we're doing now, it brings a smile to my face," Bland said. "We have a new attitude on this team because the coaching staff isn't going to put up our old ways. They're just not going for it."

The Bulldogs took a three-touchdown lead after thwarting Charleston's effort to convert on 4th-and-5 at the Sikeston 35. Faced with a 3rd-and-9 at the SHS 36, Bohannon hit wideout Josh Pierce with a 54-yard toss. The conversion on third down set up Bland's 10-yard TD run and Carlyle's extra-

point kick with 9:38 left in the first half.

Even though it was trailing, Charleston generated an attack that got the Blue Jays on the scoreboard and, eventually, back into the game. McClendon's 58-

yard TD strike to Alan Hemphill came before the Charleston signal-caller ran for a 2-point conversion with 5 minutes left in the first half.

McClendon passed for 197 yards with a 7-of-12 effort, while Hemphill made 3 receptions for 110 yards.

"Sikeston took away our ability to run inside dives, which hurt our chances of moving the ball downfield," Kesselring said. "We had success in our running game with Marquez Ware, but we couldn't get enough of the ball into the hands of Jerquawn Sherrell and Medlock."

Sikeston, which scored 15 of its points off two Charleston turnovers, gained control of the ball three plays into the second half. Courvirseya Strickland recovered a Blue Jays' fumble at the Charleston 41 before Wims made CHS pay three plays later with a 40-yard TD run. Bohannon hit Niquavious Dixon with a 2-point conversion pass as the Bulldogs grabbed a 29-8 lead.

But Charleston began to generate its attack behind the running Sherrell (41 yards, 9 carries). In 15 plays, the Blue Jays marched 76 yards from their own 24 to the end zone, capped by Sherrell's 1-yard run around right end with 2:50 left in the third quarter.

"We have to play four solid quarters of football," Gibbs said. "There were times during the game when we did not execute on defense and did not execute on offense. That can't happen again."

But the Bulldogs were able to regain control in the fourth quarter, when Sikeston's defense forced Charleston to punt on its first drive and received a sack from nose guard Robert Madison that led to the Blue Jays botching a punt with four minutes left as Wright provided pressure on the play.

Sikeston put the game out of reach as 56.9 seconds remained, when Bland scored this fourth TD after a 9-yard run.