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Saturday, Aug. 27, 2016

Tough first week for local teams

Sunday, September 7, 2003

It was a tough week for teams in our area. Every team that our newspaper covers suffered a Week 1 loss with the exception of Charleston, which beat Kennett 22-7, and Portageville, which was idle.

Sikeston was dealt a 12-7 upset loss to Jackson, New Madrid County Central fell apart in the second half against Jonesboro to lose 26-7, East Prairie was outmatched by Hayti 41-0, and Dexter lost its quarterback on the opening possession which led to a 31-8 loss to Poplar Bluff.

Sikeston shot itself in the foot numerous times on Friday night, particularly with turnovers.

The Bulldogs had two turnovers in the red zone, an interception returned for a touchdown, a blocked punt and a partially blocked punt which set up the Indians' first score.

They also had what looked to be a kick return for a score, but a fluke incident where a Bulldog player collided with the return man prevented the touchdown.

But don't hit the panic button just yet Bulldog fans. Sikeston was starting an entirely new offense at the skill positions with the exception of wide receiver Scotty Keenan.

New quarterback, new running backs, new tight ends and new receivers. They also had three new offensive linemen starting.

It will take time for the offense to get on the same page. The Bulldogs also looked shaky on special teams at times, but I think that is stuff that can be worked out.

Jackson usually has some of the area's best special teams play.

Jackson, one of the best coached and prepared teams in the area, wouldn't be my first choice to open a season. They're not a team that will beat themselves, no matter if they have talent or not.

I don't care if they were 2-8 last year, Jackson is still one of the area's elite teams -- last year and this year. But it's their schedule, which I think is the toughest in the area, that makes it tough on their record.

This was an unexpected loss for the Bulldogs. It's not how you want to open the season and it also puts Sikeston behind the 8-ball in conference play.

But the bottom line is improvement. Last year Sikeston's football team played its best football in the final two weeks of the season.

The defense is already in midseason form and will continue to be. Friday night showed that the Bulldogs can still compete and have a chance to win even with just one of the three facets of the game working.

But to win in football, teams need at least two of the three clicking.

If the Bulldogs can improve the offense and clean up the special teams, then the wins and losses will take care of themselves, and this bitter loss to Jackson will be a distant memory.