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Monday, Aug. 29, 2016

SHS hopes to keep it rolling

Thursday, October 2, 2003

Sikeston quarterback Stephen Miller runs for a gain.
FARMINGTON - Before last week's game with the Kennett Indians, the Sikeston Bulldogs decided to wipe the slate clean, and start all over.

With lofty preseason expectations, the Bulldogs stumbled to a disappointing 1-2 start, prompting the need for some changes.

The Bulldogs got some positive results with a new offensive philosophy geared towards big pass plays in a 41-12 victory against the Indians.

Now Sikeston will try to carry the momentum into its road game against Farmington on Friday night at 7 p.m.

The Bulldogs attempted 18 passes last week, but many were deep balls down the field, which was a stark contrast to the short passing game the team employed the first three weeks of the season.

The final result was one of the biggest passing days in Sikeston school history.

"I think we've got to take what the other teams are giving us, but you're going to see us throw the ball again," said Vickery. "We've got to establish a running game, but we're going to throw the ball, whether it be short or long. I've really got confidence that our offensive line can protect."

Quarterback Stephen Miller threw for 250 yards on seven completions last week.

Miller is fourth in the area in passing with 420 yards.

Scotty Keenan was the main recipient, catching five passes for 188 yards with two touchdowns.

Keenan leads the area in receiving with 317 yards on 14 catches.

"We've got some outstanding receivers and Miller's a good passer," said Vickery. "He gets better every day and he's improved greatly this year."

The Knights enter the game 1-3, posting their first win last week against Perryville, 14-9.

Farmington started the season with three straight losses to Ladue, Civic Memorial and New Madrid County Central, where they gave up an average of 24 points per game.

While this Knights team doesn't appear as strong as some of the teams they've fielded in the past, Bulldog head coach Charlie Vickery doesn't consider them any kind of pushover.

"They've got a very solid program," said Vickery. "They're a physical team and they're big up front. I think probably the strength of their ball club is their line right now."

Overall, the Bulldogs own a 15-9-1 edge in the series. But Farmington won four straight when the series was renewed in 1998.

Sikeston won last year's game 14-7.

"The last few years they've been a tough opponent for us," said Vickery. "Last year was the first time we had beaten them in a few years."

Farmington, traditionally a power football team, has opened things up this season.

Quarterback Stuart Sago is the catalyst on offense. He put the ball in the air 37 times against NMCC, completing 14 for 165 yards.

"They've got an outstanding quarterback," said Vickery. "The Sago kid has come along. He threw it 37 times against New Madrid and really looked good that game. He's got a good arm and he presents a lot of problems for us."

Another dangerous player is running back Derek Wiles, the younger brother of former Sikeston Bulldog Doug Wiles.

The younger Wiles ran for 87 yards against NMCC, including a 50-yard touchdown. He also had a 90-yard kickoff return against Civic Memorial.

John Roark and Chris Bone are the top receivers on the team.

"They run a lot of different formations," said Vickery. "I think we counted 10 or 11 different formations that they run out of. They're really trying to mix things up. They've been more of a run, power-oriented team in the past, but now they're spreading things out and throwing the ball a lot."

Farmington is averaging 14 points per game this year while the Bulldogs, after last week's 41-point outburst, are up to 19 points per night.

Sikeston has continued to produce one of the top defenses in the area, limiting opponents to just over 12 points per game.

"Last week's game was the start of a new season for us," said Vickery. "We've just tried to continue that in practice. We've been working hard, getting better, and we're more intense in everything that we do. I think it paid dividends for us last week. We've had a good week of practice so I'm expecting that to carry over."