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Tuesday, Aug. 30, 2016

Soccer team prepares for season

Friday, August 26, 2005

Sikeston goalkeeper Scott Droddy makes a save while Caleb Davidson goes through drills.
SIKESTON - After winning its first district title last year, the bar has been raised for the Sikeston High School boys soccer team.

Sikeston posted 12 wins with 11 losses and two ties last year, which marked the first time in school history the team had posted a winning record.

It will be tough for the Bulldogs to repeat as they lost nine seniors and five starters from last year's title team.

To repeat, Sikeston will have to make up for the loss of first team all-stater, J.R. Bizzell, who scored 25 goals and had 25 assists.

"We are going to have some ups and downs this year but we will continue to improve and get better," said seven-year coach Derrick Long.

Coach Long is looking forward to the season and to start playing some competition.

"Our guys have been battling each other in practice and we need to get some games under our belt to see exactly what we have," said Long.

Although Sikeston lost leading scorer Bizzell to graduation, Sikeston does have leading goal scorer of last year, Blake Taylor back.

Taylor, who received honorable mention in the all-state voting last year, is coming off a season in which he had 26 goals and 14 assists.

"Blake is a tremendous player and will have the attention of every team we will play this year," said Long.

Besides Taylor, Chris Carnell and Timmy Hart will be the starting forwards for Sikeston. Carnell, a junior, had 12 goals and five assists last year and will be counted on to supply some offense when teams key on Taylor.

Hart is a freshmen who will see varsity action for the first time. Coach Long has a lot of confidence in the young player and expects him to improve with each game.

"All Timmy needs is some experience and he will be fine," said Long.

On defense, Sikeston will have some experience with returning lettermen, Ryan Beaird, a senior and Andrew Box, also a senior. Jacob Owen, a junior, is projected to be the third defenseman on the club.

At the midfield positions, returners Scott Gardner and Justin Deere are counted on to solidify that position as their experience will be a positive factor.

In goal, Scott Droddy, a sophomore, will continue to hunt down the career saves leader at Sikeston. Last year, Droddy had a stellar season with over 300 saves, which was a single-season record for the Bulldogs.

"Scott is a great goalie with excellent range and good hands," said Long, "and he (Droddy) has a good chance to be an all-state selection this year."

Coach Long expects key contributions from senior Trey Stone, sophomores Clay Matthews and Hunter Dillender and freshmen Dakota Trevino.

The Bulldogs have experienced a key injury to Adam Gillean who broke his foot and is expected to miss up to six weeks.

Sikeston will play an aggressive, attacking style and will push the action forward for opportunities on goal.

On defense, the Bulldogs will play a three-player defensive set with the mindset of attacking at every angle and looking for a chance to push the ball forward.

Sikeston will have a brutal regular season schedule playing Class 4 stalwarts Cape Central, Jackson and Poplar Bluff. The Bulldogs will cross the river to play Marion (Ill.) and DeSoto will be new to the schedule.

In districts, Notre Dame is always a target and the other teams Sikeston will have to worry about are Lutheran South, DeSoto, Windsor, Fredericktown and Hillsboro.

While Notre Dame will probably be the Bulldogs' stiffest test in districts, coach Long understands that Sikeston will have the biggest target on their chests as returning champs.

Coach Long has set a goal of another district title for this year and expects his club to be ready and primed for districts.

The Bulldogs will be an exciting team to watch with their offensive-minded, aggressive play. Go out and support the Bulldogs who will have their eyes poised for a second district title in as many years.

Get your mini vans gassed up and ready to roll, the Bulldogs begin the season playing in the Notre Dame tournament Sept. 1-3.

The first home game will be played on Sept. 7, against Kennett, at 5 p.m.