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Thursday, Aug. 25, 2016

Mules pull away frm SHS

Sunday, October 31, 2004

Sikeston's Apollo Patterson looks for room to run.
SIKESTON - For three quarters, the Sikeston Bulldogs put together one of their best performances of the year on Friday night against Poplar Bluff.

But the Bulldogs ran out of gas in the fourth quarter against the Mules as they fell 34-14 at SPS Stadium.

Poplar Bluff has defeated Sikeston seven of the last eight meetings and with Friday's win, stays alive for a possible district championship when they host West Plains next Thursday.

West Plains defeated Cape Central on Thursday 35-14 to eliminate Sikeston from Class 4, District 1 competition. Poplar Bluff will need Sikeston to defeat Cape Central next Thursday to have a shot at winning the title.

West Plains, at 2-0 in the district, is the only team that controls its own destiny.

For Sikeston, Friday's game had no playoff implications, but the Bulldogs didn't play like it.

Running back Apollo Patterson put together his best game of the year, rushing for 121 yards on 26 carries as he broke tackles and made some nice moves to pick up extra yards.

Also, the team's defense performed well for the most part until the final quarter.

The Mules finished with 308 yards of offense, but only had 63 yards on the ground.

"It was a good game for three and a half quarters and we let them get a couple late scores that took some shine off it," said Sikeston coach Jerry Dement. "I thought we played very good run defense. I thought we did a good job on (Todd) Tinsley. He got a late score but I felt like we kept him in check and shut him down pretty good."

Poplar Bluff's highly-touted Tinsley was held to 63 yards on 19 carries, with most of his yards coming on the Mules' final drive of the game. At one point, Sikeston held Tinsley to 27 yards on 13 carries. Eight of his carries resulted in either zero or lost yardage.

But while the Bulldog run defense was playing well, the team's biggest albatross -- pass defense -- continued to plague them.

Mule quarterback Mark Gum threw for 245 yards, completing 12-of-20 passes with four scores.

Again, they hit the big play on us and that's something we've struggled with all year," said Dement. "We've been susceptible to the pass all year and that's their strength. Their quarterback had a lot of time and he put the ball on the money."

Poplar Bluff (3-6 overall, 1-1 in district) came out of the gates quickly on their opening drive and scored on a 24-yard pass to Nick Stith with 8:22 left in the quarter.

After trading punts, the Sikeston offense put together a drive for the ages. They marched 92 yards on a whopping 22-play drive that ate up 12:06 on the clock, or essentially, an entire quarter.

The Bulldogs (2-7, 0-2 district) scored on the drive on quarterback Bryce Wibbenmeyer's 1-yard plunge with 2:11 left in the second quarter to tie the game at 7-7.

"That was a good drive for us," said Dement. "We had excellent execution and good blocking. Our kids played physical all night. I was glad to see that after our performance last week."

The Bulldogs had a great chance to score just before halftime after recovering a Gum fumble at the Mule 49 with 1:53 left.

The drive ended when Patterson's halfback option pass was intercepted by Tinsley at the 2-yard line with 18 seconds left as the teams went into halftime tied at 7-7.

Poplar Bluff coach Mike Dormady made some halftime adjustments with his team in an effort to contain the Bulldog running game, which held the ball for nearly 18 of the 24 minutes in the first half.

"We put a couple of extra people in and made some personnel changes and how we aligned and that was about it," said Dormady. "We had to get an extra hat in there somehow because they were just digging us out of there. When we played low we were in good shape.

"We matched up speed-wise okay with them so when they went to the toss -- once we took away the inside run -- we had enough speed to catch them on the edge. It worked out good for us. It was a great adjustment defensively."

In the third quarter, Poplar Bluff took advantage of a 9-yard Bulldog punt at their own 29. The Mules scored when Gum found Kevin Chapin for a 13-yard touchdown to extend the lead to 14-7 with 2:03 left in the third.

Sikeston came right back to tie it when Felante Larry took the ensuing kickoff 97 yards for a touchdown. He broke an initial tackle and then out-ran the rest of the Mule defense to the end zone with the help of some good blocking.

"It was a mental error and a bust on our contain guy," said Dormady of Larry's return. "He's a heck of a back. You saw him when he got the ball in his hands offensively. He's tough for one guy to bring down in space. Our one guy in space missed and he was out the gate."

It's Larry's second kick return for a score this season and his third return of 90 yards or more.

"That was a big play by Felante," said Dement. "He's prone to do that. He's had a big year on returns this season."

But the score didn't remain tied long as Poplar Bluff put together another quick drive in which Gum found Chapin again, this time from five yards out to take a 21-14 lead with 1:01 left in the third.

The play was set up by a 39-yard pass to Whalen George.

"That's big -- that's a momentum deal," said Dormady. "Any opportunity that you got to get a big play is good because it's tough to drive the field. You don't see too many drives like they had against us in the second quarter just where they could pound it and grind it out. There's really not a big play in there. When you get an opportunity and you get a big play like that you've got to get points out of it and we did tonight."

George had the top night for the Mules, catching five passes for 156 yards.

Poplar Bluff tacked on two late scores, one on a 14-yard pass to George with 4:51 left and a Tinsley 8-yard run with 1:59 left to reach the final margin.

"We did everything that we're capable of doing," said Dormady. "We caught the ball when we should have caught the ball, we ran good routes. We got the protection when we needed to when they brought the extra rusher. I didn't expect them to go straight man like they did pretty much all night."

Sikeston had 210 yards of offense with 161 coming on the ground.

In addition to Patterson's strong night, Acie Dixon finished with 43 yards rushing on 13 carries.

"Both Apollo and Acie ran the ball hard tonight," said Dement.

Wibbenmeyer completed 8-of-12 passes for 49 yards. Larry caught five passes for 31 yards.

Larry finished with 173 all-purpose yards.

"Even though they put up 34 points, I felt like we played good defensively," said Dement.

"Good field position contributed to a couple of their scores. We had a good effort, we just didn't put the ball in the end zone. Poor field position hurt us. Our special teams played well but we had one poor punt that led to a touchdown for them."

Sikeston will wrap up its season next Thursday when they host Cape Central.