DEXTER - There are a lot of common statistics between the Sikeston Bulldogs and the Dexter Bearcats, but there's only one that matters; 0-2.
For the first time in the 60 meetings between the two schools, both enter the matchup winless.
Both will try to pick up a win Friday night as the Bearcats host Sikeston at 7 p.m.
Sikeston holds an enormous edge in the all-time series with the Bearcats, winning 44 of the 60 meetings. But Dexter has had the last laugh recently, taking three in a row, the longest streak the Bearcats have ever had against the Bulldogs.
"I think it's a real good matchup," said Sikeston coach Jerry Dement. "Both teams are looking for their first win and both are hungry. It's just the next game. We're both looking for a win. We're just trying to get better week to week and get a win. We need a win to reward our kids' effort."
Both teams have lost in down-to-the-wire games this year and both have been on the wrong end of double-digit losses.
The Bulldogs lost their season-opener to Caruthersville (43-16) and fell in the final minutes to Charleston last week (14-8).
Dexter dropped its season-opener to Ste. Genevieve (12-7) and lost last week to Gosnell, Ark., (27-13).
"We didn't practice well last week and it showed," said Dexter coach Aaron Pixley. "Gosnell just beat us. They ran the ball well on us and we didn't do a good job of rotating to the football. They kept our defense on the field and our offense never got in sync."
Dexter had to retool most of its offense from last year after losing quarterback Kyle Espey and all-state receiver Derek Roberts.
Alex Becker, a 1,000-yard rusher a year ago, has been the once constant so far this season -- rushing for 195 yards on 36 carries with three scores.
Josh Stevens, a first-year starter, has completed 13-of-37 passes for 178 yards with a TD and an interception.
Senior wideout Eric Rinehart has been the top target so far, catching four passes for 54 yards with a score. Tight end Josh Davis has three catches for 47 yards.
Justin Foushee is the team's fullback, rushing for 56 yards on six carries.
"They've got a nice running back in Alex Becker and they are physical up front," said Dement. "We haven't been very physical defensively yet. We're not near as physical as we'd like to be. We want to tackle better. That's paramount for our team. We've got to tackle better."
Sikeston sophomore quarterback Chase Ferrell showed signs of improvement last week as he completed 7-of-12 passes for 66 yards. Dement admits he's been bringing the youngster along slowly, but vows that the baby-steps are over.
"I've been keeping Chase under wraps a little bit because he is young and inexperienced -- trying to let him grow with each game," said Dement. "It's time to start taking the shackles off a little bit, so to speak."
Ferrell's poise in the first two games has even caught Pixley's eye.
"I believe this is one of the better quarterbacks they've had in a while," said Pixley. "He throws a good ball down the field and he's got two great athletes at receiver that can go get it. They're very close to connecting."
Senior flanker Robbie Howard is the top receiver so far, catching five passes for 55 yards, including a 32-yard TD strike last week.
Sikeston fullback Acie Dixon leads the charge on offense, toting 23 times for 115 yards with a touchdown. The other fullback, Adrian Douglas, has only three carries this year, but he has a 58-yard touchdown reception.
"Those big fullbacks can get four or five yards a pop," said Pixley. "You really have to be aggressive on defense to stop that."
But while Sikeston's fullbacks have been solid, the team is still looking for a game-breaking tailback.
Junior Michael Geralds has 44 yards on 18 carries and senior B.J. Green has 24 yards on eight carries to combine for a measly 2.6 yards per carry.
"We've still got some growing pains going there. I think our inside game has been pretty good. The fullbacks have run well, but we're not getting as much production out of the tailback spot as we need. We need somebody to step up and take over there," said Dement.