POPLAR BLUFF -- Dexter lost quarterback Kyle Espey to a dislocated knee just under three minutes into the season while Poplar Bluff scored 17 points in the second quarter Friday night in their home opener.
Todd Tinsley rushed for 132 yards on 11 carries for the Mules. The junior opened the second half with a 71-yard touchdown run to put Poplar Bluff up 31-2.
Poplar Bluff's offense featured a balanced attack with 162 rushing yards and 167 yards passing from junior Mark Gum. Dexter was limited 163 yards of total offense and fumbled the ball twice.
Espey, who was 2-of-3 with 20 yards, completed a pass with 9:14 left in the first quarter but dislocated his knee on the play and never returned.
Sophomore Andrew Stuever threw for 20 yards on 2-of-5 passes while senior running back Garrett Williams was held to 35 yards. Alex Becker led the Bearcats with 60 yards on 11 carries.
The Bearcats got on the board first when Josh Robinson sacked Gum in the end zone with 5:21 left in the first quarter. Poplar Bluff scored with 1:02 left in the first quarter when Gum hit senior receiver Andrew Heuiser over the middle for a 37-yard touchdown pass.
A 30-yard pass from Gum to Tinsley set up an 11-yard touchdown run by Steve Atteberry for a 14-2 lead with 8:17 remaining in the half. Tinsley caught a screen pass from Gum and scored 26 yards later for a 21-2 lead with 4:23 left in the half. Trell Edington, who beat Dexter last year with a last-second field goal, split the uprights with no time left in the half Friday for a 31-yard field goal and a 24-2 lead.
Dexter's lone touchdown came in the third quarter when Williams pushed in from 5 yards out but the extra point was wide left.
Charleston 22, Kennett 7
KENNETT -- Charleston opened the 2003 season with an impressive road victory, beating SEMO Central Conference rival Kennett 22-7.
Kennett scored its only touchdown early as Dontavis Jones found paydirt from one yard out just 10 seconds into the game. Brett Palmer followed with the PAT to make it 7-0. The lead lasted just 17 seconds as Charleston's Trentez Lane returned the kickoff 90 yards for a TD.
Marcus Dixon nailed the PAT to tie the score 7-7.
With 2:10 left in the opening quarter, Charleston scored again as Jeff Hemphill found A.H. Marshall on a 31-yard halfback pass. The PAT was good, making it 14-7. Charleston's final touchdown came in the third quarter as Bobby Clark scored from three yards out, then ran in the two-point conversion to make it 22-7.
Charleston (1-0) will travel to Sikeston on Friday night while Kennett (0-1) travels to Caruthersville.
ST. CHARLES -- Cape Girardeau Central rode a dominating defensive performance and two touchdowns by Brandon Twiggs to a 24-6 season-opening football victory Friday night over host St. Charles West.
Twiggs scored on a 2-yard run and a 44-yard touchdown pass from Mitch Craft, Kyle Schuessler returned an interception 27 yards for a touchdown and Colin Schermann added a 26-yard field goal.
Central's defense had a shutout going until the final minutes and forced five turnovers, including two interceptions by Schuessler. Twiggs, Craft and Mikell Abraham all recovered fumbles.
Unofficially, the Tigers had 391 yards of offense. Craft completed 13 of 26 passes for 226 yards with one touchdown and two interceptions. He was also Central's leading rusher with 69 yards on 16 carries.
Mark Dunaway caught five passes for 88 yards and Twiggs had four receptions for 95 yards.
Central rushed for 165 yards. Marcus Rice gained 36 yards on six attempts, Gabe Edwards had 29 yards on three carries and Twiggs added 25 yards on five attempts.
The Tigers grabbed an early lead. After SCW received the opening kickoff and could not move, the Tigers drove 72 yards to a touchdown. Twiggs scored on a 2-yard run and Schermann kicked the extra point for a 7-0 advantage with 7:44 left in the first quarter.
Central twice converted third-down plays on its opening touchdown drive, with Craft firing completions of 28 yards to Will Johnson and 24 yards to Twiggs.
Edwards' 20-yard run moved the ball to the 2, and Twiggs scored on the next play. SCW then had its best scoring chance of the first half inside Central's 25-yard line, but Twiggs recovered a fumble.
Late in the opening half, Schuessler intercepted a pass at the SCW 40-yard line, which led to Craft's 16-yard touchdown run -- but it was wiped out by a penalty.
The drive later ended when Craft was intercepted, but a few plays later Abraham recovered a fumble at the SCW 15-yard line. That led by Schermann's 26-yard field goal with 6:28 left before halftime, making it 10-0.
Central had a golden opportunity to pad its lead before the intermission, but the Tigers were stopped twice on runs from inside the 1-yard line as the half ended, leaving the score 10-0.
But the Tigers scored in less than two minutes after receiving the second-half kickoff. A 30-yard pass from Craft to Dunaway led to Craft's 44-yard TD strike to Twiggs, who took a short pass and did the rest.
Schermann's PAT made it 17-0 with 10:11 remaining in the third quarter. Schuessler's 27-yard interception return and Schermann's PAT midway through the final period put the Tigers up 24-0.
The Warriors finally ended Central's shutout bid when Hemal Patel scored on an 18-yard run with 3:16 remaining.
STE. GENEVIEVE -- Adam Schwent rushed for 285 yards and four touchdowns to lead Ste. Genevieve to a 44-13 victory over crosstown rival Valle Catholic Friday night.
Schwent, who scored in every quarter on runs of 21, 5, 29 and 28, was pulled with seven minutes remaining in the game denying him a 300-yard night.
He had 144 yards and two TDs by halftime. Valle had 40 yards total on the ground. It was the host Dragons seventh straight victory over the Warriors, who had just 40 yards rushing. Both teams play in the four-year-old Mississippi Area Football Conference, but compete in different divisions.
Ste. Genevieve only led 12-0 at halftime, but took advantage of three crucial Warrior turnovers -- one interception and two fumbles -- in the third quarter for a 25-7 lead and never looked back.
Valle Catholic senior quarterback Patrick Odneal, who threw for nearly 800 yards last season and had to battle sophomore brother Sean Odneal for the starting position in preseason practice, was 13-of-23 passing for 190 yards and two touchdowns.