SIKESTON - Still searching for that first win, the Sikeston Bulldogs football team will host yet another undefeated team on Friday night when the Farmington Knights come to town on homecoming night.
There's no doubting that Sikeston (0-4) hasn't played well this year, but they've also played one of the toughest schedules during the first part of the season with undefeated Caruthersville and Jackson and one-loss teams Dexter and Charleston.
And now with the 4-0 Knights visiting SPS Stadium, things aren't looking any easier for the Bulldogs.
"Going by records is a very unreliable thing to do," said Farmington coach John Bacon. "They look like the kind of team that is one play or one good series of busting loose and establishing themselves. We've got a lot of work to do to get ready for them."
Farmington has only been challenged in one game this year, a 29-26 victory against St. Clair. After that they have rolled to convincing wins, defeating New Madrid County Central 38-18, Windsor 27-6 and Kennett 28-6.
None of the teams, however, have a winning record this season.
"The kids have worked hard," said Bacon. "They did a good job in the offseason to get stronger and faster and now that the season is here they've done a good job. That's the whole story really."
Also the Knights have put up some big passing number behind experienced senior quarterback Stuart Sago and wide receiver John Roark.
"They look like they've got one of the better teams they've had in several years," said Sikeston coach Jerry Dement. "They're a real good throwing team. It looks like they're going to be real tough to beat because of their offensive firepower.
"We've been struggling covering the pass this year and we've tried to make some changes on defense scheme-wise. We've put a lot more effort on the defensive side of the ball and we're hoping that's going to pay dividends."
Sikeston comes into the game having shown slow, steady improvement in various areas, most notably with turnovers and penalties.
But the team has continued to struggle moving the chains on offense.
Bacon is hoping his defense can contain some of Sikeston's faster players.
"Offensively they've got a lot of speed," said Bacon. "They've got a great mix of the run and pass. Anytime you combine those two things then you're going to be spread thin on defense. One missed tackle or one great play by one of their guys and you've got six points."
The game will mark the Bulldogs' homecoming, an event Sikeston hasn't lost on since 1997.
Dement hopes the festivities will provide some added motivation for a team starving for a victory.
"Homecoming's one of those special events that adds spice to the game," said Dement. "I think it's a good motivating factor most of the time as long as you deal with the normal distractions that surround homecoming. Our kids are hungry for a win. We don't care what the event is. We want to get on the right track and I think we're making strides that way. We continue to have good practice habits and good effort. The kids have tried to improve every day and they've had a very good attitude. If we do that then we'll make some noise by the end of the season."