(Photo by Tim Jaynes, Staff)
SIKESTON -- With the weather advisory calling for clear skies, a different type of storm blew into Sikeston Public Schools Stadium Friday night as the Sikeston Bulldogs hosted the West Plain Zizzers. In the end the Bulldogs couldn't stop the rain as the Zizzers flooded Sikeston 69-34.
"We didn't feel like we played very well defensively," said Sikeston head coach Kent Gibbs. "We played hard but we just weren't quite good enough tonight."
Although Sikeston's offense finally got back to early season form with five touchdowns, the Zizzers seemed ready to answer every time the Bulldogs found the end zone. West Plains was able to match their opponents touchdown total in each half of the game, finishing with 10 touchdowns and a field goal.
The Bulldogs came out high on emotion as they were determined to give the home crowd as well as the seniors a victory on their final home game of the season. Facing a fourth and one decision on their opening drive, Sikeston looked into their bag of tricks as they kept the drive alive on a fake punt attempt.
This play enabled Chase Ferrell to continue the drive as he hit Josh Pierce in stride on a 61-yard shot down the sideline, giving the Bulldogs an early lead with 8:20 left in the first quarter.
"We moved the ball a little bit tonight," said Gibbs. "We didn't always move the ball like we needed to but when we did we got some big plays out of it."
Facing a 7-0 deficit the Zizzers sideline knew the Bulldogs came out ready to play as the West Plains offense wasted no time to get their team back into the game.
On their first play from the line of scrimmage John Lowe ripped through the Sikeston defense finding himself alone in the end zone after a 68-yard blast.
Heading into the second quarter both teams found the score knotted up at seven all. This was when the thunder started to roll for the Zizzers as they managed to score four touchdowns in the second quarter sounding off the alarms for 34 unanswered points.
Sikeston did manage to catch a ray of light with 34 seconds left in the half when defensive tackle, Tyler Combs, batted a ball in the air picking it off, as he took it 34 yards to the end zone.
"That was a big play out of Tyler Combs before half time," said Gibbs. "We did a great job to get a hand on the ball and to come down with it was a great athletic play. That was some good motivation heading into the locker rooms."
Despite looking at a 37-14 deficient after a last second field goal before the half for West Plains, the Bulldogs came out in the second half rejuvenated with great determination. On the Zizzers opening drive of the third quarter, the Bulldogs defense followed up on their momentum at the end of the first half, forcing a fumble on the West Plains 20 yard line. Sikeston cashed in on the short field advantage as Ferrell found Gavilan Bland on a 15-yard pass in the end zone at the 10:26 mark.
The Zizzers quickly answered back with a 1-yard touchdown run by Tommy Meyer and later added to that with a 16-yard pass (Austin Riggs to Jesse Bates) that found the endzone for six.
However, Sikeston showed no signs of quiting as they managed to score two more times before the third quarter ended. One touchdown came on a 18-
yard Ferrell pass to JuQualin Wiggins while the other was found on a 57 hurl to Demetrious Jackson.
"We told them at half time that we didn't want to see them hanging their heads or walking around," said Gibbs. "The big thing is, we came out the second half behind and we were down 50-34 with a minute left in the third quarter but we didn't lay down or give up. We really stayed together as a team and fought till the end."
Sikeston narrowed the West Plains lead to a two possession game with the score 50-34 heading towards the fourth quarter but that would be as the close as the Bulldogs would get.
In the final quarter, West Plains tacked on three more touchdowns to seal their victory 69-34.
"We did as well as we could," said Gibbs. "They just put it on us there at the end. They've got a good football team and that's just the way it goes sometimes."
The Bulldogs look to keep their district hopes alive next week as they travel to Poplar Bluff to take on the Mules while West Plains will look to continue their district dominance as they host the Cape Central Tigers. Kickoffs will be launched at 7 p.m.