What has become a theme all season for the Bulldogs played out against Windsor, as Sikeston struggled in the first half but found new energy in the second half to defeat the Owls.
"Windsor came out and played extremely hard in the first half," said Sikeston head coach Derrick Long. "We didn't match their intensity and really lacked aggression in the first half."
In the first half of action, Sikeston controlled the tempo as they outshot Windsor 14-4 in the half. The Bulldogs pressured goalie Andrew Keating of Windsor relentlessly in the first half but failed to score a goal.
Sikeston missed a golden opportunity at 35:00 when a Windsor defender pulled down Blake Taylor as he was running free in the box for an apparent shot on goal. A penalty was called and Taylor had an opportunity for a penalty shot.
The Bulldogs looked like a different team in the second half as they seemed determined to put away the pesky Windsor Owls.
"We played with a more aggressive style in the second half," said Long. "For some reason we seem to wake up and take care of business."
Sikeston struck quick in the second half of play as the Bulldogs were rewarded a corner kick at 44:00. Scott Gardner lofted a nice kick towards the middle of the field about 5 yards from goal. Out of nowhere, Taylor leaped in the air and headed the ball past the shocked Windsor goalie for a goal. Sikeston took the lead 1-0 on the goal by Taylor and assist by Gardner.
Just one minute later, Gardner scored Sikeston's second goal on an assist by Ryan Beaird. At 45:00, Sikeston led 2-0.
Taylor and Gardner hooked up again at 63:00 when Gardner found Taylor open in front of goal and he put it past the goalie for the score and Sikeston had the final margin 3-0 over Windsor.
Sikeston goalie Scott Droddy recorded the shutout for the Bulldogs as he made 14 saves. The Sikeston defense should get some credit for the shutout as Droddy was never really challenged in the contest. Sikeston outshot Windsor in the match 24-14.
"We played a nice second half," said Long. "We need to work on making that two good halves."
With his two goals in districts, Taylor now has 27 goals on the season. He is only three goals short of the Sikeston record for goals in season. Former Sikeston standout Adam Garrett set the record in his senior season in 2001 with 30 goals.
Coach Long is relieved to get the first win out of the way in districts but is not satisfied.
"We didn't do anything special," said Long. "We did what we were supposed to do. We were supposed to beat Windsor."
In other Class 2, District 1 action on Saturday, No. 4 seed Lutheran South defeated De Soto 4-0. While No. 6 seed Fredericktown upset Hillsboro in the game of the day. The Blackcats needed four overtimes and two shootouts to get past the Hawks. In the second shootout, Fredericktown won 2-1.
Sikeston (11-10) will face Fredericktown on Tuesday at 5 p.m. at Notre Dame High School. No. 1 seed Notre Dame will take on Lutheran South immediately after the first contest.