FARMINGTON - For a half at least, the Sikeston Bulldogs gave the third-
ranked Farmington Knights all they wanted.
But in the end, the Bulldogs fell back into a familiar trend of turning the ball over which helped the Knights pull away for a 49-20 victory on their homecoming night.
Farmington, ranked No. 3 in Class 4, had jumped out to a 28-6 lead late in the second quarter but Sikeston was able to put together a long drive and a couple drive-stopping interceptions to close the gap to 28-20 by halftime.
Farmington scored 21 unanswered points in the third quarter to put the game away.
The Knights (5-0) turned two Bulldog fumbles into scoring drives in the third quarter.
"Turnovers and poor tackling were once again the story of the game," said Sikeston coach Jerry Dement. "We had too many of both. Particularly in the second half. I was pleased with our effort and enthusiasm in the first half. But we had three fumbles in three possessions in a row. That's just a lack of concentration. They weren't caused by big hits or anything. They just weren't protecting the football, and that's just a lack of concentration. Those are the little things that are hurting us."
Poor tackling by the Bulldogs resulted in a huge rushing total for the Knights as they racked up 428 yards on the ground and 537 total yards of offense.
Junior running back Travis Ribbing had the biggest night, rushing for 235 yards on 16 carries with four touchdowns on runs of 59, 19, 68 and 7 yards.
"He's a good runner -- I was impressed with him," said Dement. "But we've got a bad habit of making running backs look good."
Sikeston (0-5) did have a strong offensive showing in the first half and finished the game with a season-high in rushing yards with 136. The Bulldogs finished with 170 total yards, second-best on the season.
Fullback Acie Dixon had a season-high 103 yards on the ground on 14 carries with a touchdown.
"Acie ran the ball well and the offensive line blocked better -- the offensive line got off the ball a lot better," said Dement. "We're still sporadic in the passing game and we must improvement that area."
Farmington got on the board first as Ribbing broke loose for a 59-yard touchdown run on the Knights' second play from scrimmage.
Jordan Pannett kicked the first of his seven extra points to make it 7-0.
Farmington made it 14-0 later in the first quarter when Ribbing scored on a 19-yard run.
On the ensuing kickoff, Sikeston's Byron Davis returned the kick 40 yards into Knight territory at the 48-yard line. Dixon then broke off a 35-yard run, setting up Michael Geralds' 13-yard TD scamper. The extra point hit the crossbar, leaving the score at 14-6 with 4:14 left in the first quarter.
In the second quarter, Farmington scored on back-to-back possessions, with Ribbing scoring from 68 yards out and tight end Dwayne Glaspy scoring on a 54-yard pass from Josh Kimrey to make it 28-6 with 9:09 left in the half.
Sikeston then put together a 13-play, 69-yard drive capped by quarterback Chase Ferrell's 6-yard bootleg for the touchdown. Ferrell then hit B.J. Green for the two-point conversion to cut the lead to 28-14 with 2:43 left in the half.
Robbie Howard then thwarted two straight Farmington drives with interceptions. His first came along the sideline as he stepped in front of the Knight receiver. The second came with 1:14 left in the half as he intercepted a tipped pass and returned it to the Farmington 12-yard line.
The Bulldogs scored three plays later as Dixon plunged in from the 1. The kick was blocked, leaving the score at 28-20 at the half.
Farmington ended any notions of an upset in the third quarter as Ribbing scored on a 7-yard run to start things off. Following a Bulldog fumble, Parks Peterson took the handoff and ran 60 yards for a touchdown. And then following another Bulldog fumble, fullback Eric Koppeis punched it in from 4-
yards out to reach the final margin.
The Bulldogs still showed problems with tackling, but Dement noticed a few nice defensive performers from his team.
"I thought Jerod Scott played really well -- this was his first full game back and we were pleased to see him doing well," said Dement. "Robert Madison, Tyler Baker and Sergio Ramos all had nice games on defense. Robbie had a couple nice interceptions.
"We showed improvement in the first half and then we went back to the same old thing in the second half. Turnovers and poor tackling. But at times we got better. We took a half-step forward tonight."
Ferrell completed 5-of-13 passes for 34 yards. Geralds finished with a season-best 33 yards rushing.
Sikeston will travel to New Madrid County Central next Friday at 7 p.m.