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Bulldogs win second straight

Sunday, October 17, 2004

(Photo)
Sikeston's Felonte Larry (2) runs behind the blocking of Ross Merideth (80) and Tyler Baker (88).
KENNETT - There was a time, not too long ago, that some fans were wondering if the Sikeston Bulldog football team would win a game all season.

Now, after an 0-5 start to 2004, the Bulldogs have won two consecutive games with a 34-13 win against Kennett on a cool, rainy night at Metz-Cherry Stadium.

All of a sudden the Bulldogs have turned a disastrous season into one of promise with the Class 4, District 1 opener at West Plains looming next Friday.

For the second week in a row, Sikeston controlled the line of scrimmage and was able to churn out plenty of clock on long, sustained drives. The Bulldogs snapped 62 plays on the night to Kennett's 42 plays.

The Bulldogs also controlled the game's time of possession, holding the ball for 31 of the 48 minutes.

"I felt like we played about as good as we possibly could defensively," said Kennett coach Ronnie Jones. "But once again we got into a situation where our defense was on the field way too much. They lined up in that unbalanced line again, just like I knew they would, and they just powered over us. That became a situation where they kept the ball a long time. We can't get anything accomplished if we don't have the football."

And at the same time, Sikeston's defense continued its solid play by limiting the Indians to 48 rushing yards on 30 carries. The Bulldogs forced a season-high six turnovers, including four fumbles, two of which were on punt returns.

The only negatives on the night for the Bulldogs was an uncharacteristic rash of penalties as they racked up 12 flags worth 120 yards, including five of the 15-yard variety.

"I'm never one to gripe about officiating, but the penalties in the second half took us out of our rhythm and I really thought we could've done a better job if those hadn't happened," said Sikeston coach Jerry Dement. "Obviously we made some mistakes but there were a couple that were questionable. But that's the way it goes."

Sikeston also couldn't get any semblance of a passing game going as they were just 3-of-8 for 34 yards. Quarterback Bryce Wibbenmeyer missed on two deep routes to receivers that could have been touchdowns.

"He was off a little bit," said Dement of Wibbenmeyer. "His rhythm was a little out of sync. I probably should've thrown a little more to get him in a rhythm, but we were moving the ball on the ground and we had good field position."

On the ground, Sikeston was led by Apollo Patterson, who had 100 yards on 27 carries with two scores. Fullback Acie Dixon tacked on 56 yards on 10 carries.

Wibbenmeyer even scored two touchdowns on quarterback sneaks.

The Bulldogs had 225 yards of offense with 191 coming on the ground, however they toted the ball 53 times, averaging just 3.6 yards per carry.

"One of the biggest things we tried to do was keep their runs under 10 yards," said Jones. "I don't think they had many tonight, but the week prior to that against New Madrid they had several. I knew going in that with the little kids we have we could not play them heads up."

The Bulldogs finished with four carries of 10 of more yards.

Things didn't look good from the outset for Sikeston.

Kennett scored on their first play from scrimmage as quarterback Robert Lockett hit Alando Edwards for a 56-yard scoring toss. Edwards caught the ball with three Bulldog defenders around him but he was able to secure the ball and sprint to the end zone untouched.

From that point on Sikeston's defense kept the Indian offense in check.

"I'm very proud defensively other than that one play in the first half," said Dement. "I thought the first defense did really good. They ended up getting another score on our second defense. We missed a few tackles in the open field because their quickness gave us a few problems."

Sikeston was able to cut the lead to 7-6 following a Dixon interception. After eight plays, Patterson scored from three yards out with 4:26 left in the first quarter.

The Bulldogs took their first lead with 1:12 left in the first half as Wibbenmeyer took the sneak in from one yard out. He then found Ross Merideth for the two-point conversion to give Sikeston a 14-7 lead into halftime.

In the third quarter, Wibbenmeyer added another 1-yard sneak followed by a Ryan Dicus extra point to extend the Bulldog lead to 21-7 with 5:09 left.

Kennett had a golden opportunity to get back in the game after driving to the Bulldog 1-yard line. But Lockett was intercepted in the end zone by Robbie Howard, who was one block away from taking it the full 100 yards, but returned it 65 yards before finally being tackled.

It's Howard's second interception in as many weeks, including one he returned 75 yards for a touchdown against New Madrid County Central last week. Howard leads the Bulldogs with three interceptions this year.

Patterson scored his second touchdown with 11:12 left in the fourth quarter to extend the lead to 27-7.

After a blocked punt, Sikeston capitalized as Felante Larry took the toss sweep 12 yards into the end zone to push the lead to 34-7.

Kennett scored its final touchdown with 7:12 left in the game as Danny Ragsdale ran it in from four yards out.

Lockett still managed to throw for 136 yards, completing 8-of-12 passes, but with two costly interceptions.

However, the Indian running game simply couldn't get going. Lockett was stuffed numerous times on the option and was forced into bad pitches, which resulted in minus-23 rushing yards.

"Sikeston's got a lot to do with that," said Jones. "You get into a situation where we don't have a dominant running back and we've got a bunch of small kids and it doesn't take much to bring them down. Speed can only take you so far. At some point in time you've got to be able to run the ball hard inside. You can't always go to the corner and you can't always throw."

Ragsdale led the Indian ball carriers with 55 yards on 14 carries.

Sikeston will play at West Plains for the first time ever next Friday at 7 p.m. to open district play.

"Hopefully we'll build some momentum going into the district next week," said Dement.