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Tuesday, Aug. 30, 2016

Dement's first victory comes in blowout fashion

Sunday, October 10, 2004

Sikeston's Acie Dixon (27) celebrates with teammates Apollo Patterson (44), Felonte Larry (2) and others after scoring a touchdown.
SIKESTON - It took until the sixth week of the season, but first-year Sikeston head coach Jerry Dement finally got his first win of the season.

And his team did it impressively, routing New Madrid County Central 49-14 on Friday night at Sikeston Public Schools Stadium.

Dement got the winless monkey off his back in a big way.

"Not a monkey, a gorilla," said Dement. "We've been struggling for five weeks, but to be honest, even when things were at their worst the first three weeks, our kids didn't hang their heads and didn't get on each other. They kept fighting and the coaches stuck together."

In a game most had as a toss up heading in, Sikeston dominated from start to finish, setting numerous season bests in the process.

New Madrid County Central's Prentiss Willis runs for yardage.
The Bulldogs out-gained the Eagles 408-to-138, including 314 yards on the ground. NMCC had just 42 yards in the second half.

The Bulldogs controlled the clock for 30 of the game's 48 minutes and ran 61 plays to just 32 for NMCC. They also had a season-high 22 first downs, 15 of which came in the first half.

Controlling the line of scrimmage and sustaining long drives had been something the Bulldogs have tried to do for weeks.

"We finally put a game together where we didn't have hardly any turnovers and we maintained the clock," said Dement. "With a team like New Madrid, you've got to have good clock management. We had a nice mix of the run and pass. I thought Bryce (Wibbenmeyer) took charge and called a good ballgame and I'm really, really proud of our line play on both sides. That was the key to the game."

For NMCC (1-5), it was the same old story -- missed tackles and missed assignments.

"When you don't tackle, and that's capital T-A-C-K-L-E, you ain't gonna stop nobody -- I mean nobody," said first-year NMCC coach Arlen Pixley. "We're not good on defense right now, we've got guys that are soft tacklers. It's not like we haven't stressed it. We're going into Week 7, you've got three weeks of practice before that, plus two more weeks of camp. I don't know what else to do. I can't go out there and do it for them. Our coaches are kind of frustrated right now.

"We're going to make them do it 1,000 times again just like we've been doing all season long. It's just a matter of time before it's going to start happening. That's the bottom line."

The Bulldog defense also had its best day of the year, limiting the Eagles to 138 yards of total offense, including just 20 through the air. The defense forced three turnovers, including an interception return for a touchdown.

"I think we finally put everything together," said Dement. "We're really proud of the players for persevering through a very tough first half of the season. It's kind of an old cliche, but we feel like we're getting better each week. I really thought for the second half of the Jackson game until now we've improved."

Pixley said his defense's poor play had a direct effect on why his offense struggled.

"They push it right down our throats all night and then all of a sudden it takes our whole offensive gameplan into an uproar and we're basically running our two-minute 'O' the rest of the ballgame for three quarters," said Pixley. "It's impossible to function that way."

Sikeston scored on its opening drive of the game, marching 69 yards on nine plays capped by fullback Acie Dixon's 27-yard run.

After forcing an NMCC punt, Sikeston marched 62 yards on six plays capped by a 14-yard touchdown pass to Felante Larry to make it 14-0.

NMCC responded with a six-play, 53-yard drive as quarterback Jordan Kimball punched it in from one yard out with 1:56 left in the first quarter.

Sikeston didn't waste any time getting it back as they went 63 yards on 12 plays as Wibbenmeyer hit Ross Merideth for a 16-yard TD on a tight end dump to make it 21-7 with 8:25 left in the half.

Late in the second quarter, Sikeston was marching and on the verge of taking a commanding lead heading into halftime, but Wibbenmeyer's pass was intercepted by Jeffery McFarland, who promptly took it 95 yards down the right sideline for a potential game-turning touchdown, making it 21-14 with 56 seconds left in the half.

But Larry responded with a game-breaking play of his own as he took the ensuing kickoff 90 yards up the middle to put the Bulldog lead back up to 27-14 heading into halftime.

"Huge momentum change -- probably the play of the game," said Dement. "We had a pick in the end zone and of course they go the distance with the fastest kid in southeast Missouri -- I knew once he caught it, it was bad trouble. And then Felante answers right back and he's probably the second fastest kid around. They had just seized the momentum and we took it right back."

It was all the Bulldogs would need as they put the game away in the second half.

The Bulldogs marched 80 yards on eight plays capped by an Apollo Patterson 2-yard TD run on fourth down. And then Dixon scored his second touchdown with no time left in the third quarter from five yards out to make it 42-14.

On the first play of the fourth quarter, Robbie Howard intercepted a Kimball pass and returned it 75 yards for a touchdown down the left sideline to reach the final margin of 49-14.

The mercy rule kept the clock running continuously for the final 11:40 of the game as the Bulldog subs played much of the final quarter.

"I'm not pointing a finger at anyone individually, it's just collectively as a whole," said Pixley. "There's no telling how many hours coaches are putting in on film and no telling how many hours coaches are putting in on scheming and trying to coordinate everything.

"We've got guys in the right spot. They ran some unbalanced stuff on their sideline and we've got guys that see it but don't adjust to it. It's just the same old, same old."

Dixon led the Bulldog ground game with 141 yards on 13 carries. Patterson added 104 yards on 20 carries.

Larry added 145 yards all-purpose with two scores.

Wibbenmeyer was 7-of-10 passing for 94 yards with two scores.

"We had a lot of kids contribute on the ground," said Dement. "Acie ran real well inside, Apollo ran real tough, Felante had some carries on the edge. We had a lot of kids contribute. We finally got our tight end loose and Ross did a good job catching the football. We need to try to get another one next week and get some momentum going into West Plains."

NMCC was led in rushing by Printice Willis with 45 yards on eight carries. Kimball was 2-of-9 passing for 20 yards.

Sikeston will travel to Kennett next Friday at 7 p.m. NMCC will host Ste. Genevieve on Friday at 7 p.m.