(Photos by David Jenkins, Staff)
SIKESTON -- The Sikeston eighth grade football team took to the air Thursday evening and shocked the Jackson Indians 20-14 at Sikeston Public Schools Stadium.
"The eighth graders have been struggling a little bit and this is a big win for them," said Sikeston coach Brett Blackman. "I'm proud for them. They've been struggling to find their identity and maybe this will help."
Sikeston spotted Jackson an 8-0 lead in the first quarter before Sikeston put their aerial show on display.
After stopping a Jackson drive on downs, the Sikeston offense led by quarterback Luke Keefer marched down the field and scored when Keldon Warfield barreled into the endzone from four yards out. Dustin Ruby pounded in the two-point conversion and Sikeston tied the game 8-8.
Jackson tied the game at 14 in the third quarter but on the ensuing possession, McGee found Misouria again, this time from 55-yards out to put Sikeston on top 20-14.
Jackson mounted a rally in the fourth quarter but the Sikeston defense held, earning Sikeston their first win of the season.
The Sikeston freshmen weren't as fortunate as Jackson used good special-
Jackson scored first when they blocked a Sikeston punt and ran it in for a touchdown, giving the Indians a 7-0 lead after the kick.
Jackson added to the lead when they returned the opening kickoff of the second half for a touchdown, giving the Indians a 14-0 lead.
Then Sikeston mounted a comeback in the fourth quarter as quarterback Sam Erwin found Jerry Andrews for a 30-yard touchdown pass and Sikeston was back the game, down 14-6.
However, Jackson marched down the field chewing up precious clock and would eventually score with about 3 minutes left in the game, giving the visitors a 21-6 lead.
Sikeston refused to quit and began marching toward the endzone, scoring on a sensational 20-yard run by Erwin.
The freshman quarterback rolled to the sideline and when nothing was open tucked the ball and ran toward the endzone. Sikeston's Ray Clark threw a key block that enabled Erwin to get free and the spry quarterback took care of the rest, lowering his shoulder and leveling an attempted tackle by a Jackson defender before heading into the endzone.
"Sam Erwin had a good game and he's been playing really hard for us," Blackman said. "That run tonight was one of the best plays I've seen this year."
While Sikeston (2-1) lost their first game of the year, Blackman wasn't completely disappointed.
"The result isn't what we wanted but they kids played real hard and played a real physical game." Blackman said. "The Jackson coaches even commented after the game that this was the most physical freshman team they've seen out of Sikeston, which is a big compliment coming from that program.
"These kids are working their butts off for us and they know they are working toward the future."
The Sikeston eighth and ninth grade teams will be back in action next Thursday when they travel to Poplar Bluff. The eighth grade game begins at 5 p.m. with the freshman contest to follow.