POPLAR BLUFF -- The Sikeston ninth-grade football team closed out its season with a 13-0 loss to Poplar Bluff on Thursday.
Sikeston (1-5) held the undefeated Mules at bay in a scoreless first half. A promising Bulldog drive just before halftime ended on a fumble at the 5-yard line.
"We moved the ball running as well as we had all year," said Sikeston coach Steve Bays. "Tommie Strong and Gavilan Bland both had a good night running the ball. It came down to who would strike first."
With their offense held in check by the Bulldogs, Poplar Bluff blocked a punt at the 5 to set up the game's first score, which came on a fourth-down play.
Said Bays, "We shut down one of the best freshmen running backs I've seen. I was really proud of our kids."
The Mules scored again with 40 seconds left in the contest.
"That team finished undefeated and our kids had them worried," said Bays. "We've come a long ways since the beginning of school. I challenged our kids to get better in the offseason. Many of them are playing basketball and many are wrestling and I hope they can be the best athletes they can be. The ones that don't play, I hope they continue to work in the offseason.
"I'm proud of the kids' effort."
NEW MADRID - Sikeston's eighth grade girls basketball team defeated New Madrid County Central on the road on Thursday, 45-12.
Sikeston (2-4) was led by Alex Fowler's 19 points. Latifah Johnson had 12 points and Keyarra Blissett added eight points.