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Sunday, Aug. 28, 2016

SHS drops district opener

Sunday, October 23, 2005

West Plains' Evan Moffits is tackled by Acie Dixon, Jerod Scott and Salamar Cox.
SIKESTON - The Sikeston Bulldogs had their district hopes dashed on Friday night as the West Plains Zizzers left SPS Stadium with a convincing 49-7 victory.

Although Sikeston is technically alive in the district hunt, it's a longshot as the Bulldogs would need to win out and West Plains would have to stumble in one of its next two outings.

In the other Class 4, District 1 game, Cape Central beat Poplar Bluff 31-28. West Plains showed no weaknesses on Friday as they dominated the game on both sides of the ball, racking up 412 yards of offense and holding the Bulldogs to 97 yards of offense.

"This is one of the better ballgames we've played this year," said West Plains coach Greg Simpkins. "We got a number of breaks with some turnovers and field position. We got Sikeston back on their heels a little bit. We just gained some momentum and rode it to the end."

The Zizzers were never threatened in the game as they scored on their opening drive, recovered an onside kick, and scored again.

Sikeston quarterback Chase Ferrell tries to avoid a tackle.
Before the Bulldogs had taken a snap, West Plains led 14-0 just 5:44 into the ballgame.

"I'll be honest, it was not intended to be an onside kick," said Simpkins, now in his 16th year at West Plains. "Some people call it a sky kick or a pooch kick. It wasn't intended as an onside kick, but we were fortunate on that play."

The ominous start was just the beginning of an entire night of misery for the Bulldogs.

"I'm embarrassed because for the first time this year I thought we gave up when it got tough," said Sikeston coach Jerry Dement. "We need more leadership, we need stronger character, we need better discipline. That's my job, to instill that, but also the kids have to step up and do some of those things themselves. We didn't execute well, we didn't play well on either side of the ball. We've got some kids that are trying their best and we've got some that are just happy to have a uniform on."

The Bulldogs had no answer for the Zizzers' read-option offense, which is designed entirely for misdirection.

Two West Plains defenders battle Sikeston's Byron Davis for the ball.
The offense was run with precision as junior quarterback Tyler Schmitt carried six times for 88 yards with three touchdowns. He completed 4-of-7 passes for 91 yards with a score and carried out the fakes flawlessly.

Dement said the Zizzers didn't do anything that surprised them.

"We've seen the read-option -- we just didn't trust each other," said Dement. "Every guy has his own responsibility on the option. Our kids don't trust the other guy, so they go help them out and the next thing you know the ball's coming back where they were. We worked on it all week, coach McGill had a good plan, but the kids didn't execute it tonight. It's our job to lead them, but it's their job to play like their taught.

"We've got too many young kids in too many key spots trying to make plays. We're a young team and we've known that. They're still sophomores and they're still making young mistakes. We're very disheartened with this loss. Our kids did not come to play. I don't know why and I wish I knew."

West Plains (4-4) extended its lead to 28-0 on a pair of touchdowns to start the second quarter.

Sikeston broke the shutout with an 11-play, 53-yard drive capped by fullback Acie Dixon's 8-yard run with 1:15 left in the half, cutting the lead to 28-7.

"Acie's a tough running back," said Simpkins. "They made some things happen for themselves. They kicked our butts on that drive. They deserved that one."

But the Bulldogs left too much time for the Zizzers as they were able to score with two seconds remaining in the half when Schmitt hit Ryan Mear for a 13-

yard touchdown pass, making it 35-7 at the half.

Schmitt had a 10-yard touchdown run in the third quarter and Barrett Estes had a touchdown run with 3:17 left in the game to round out the scoring.

Luke Nichols carries five times for 83 yards, all on end-arounds. Evan Moffis had 65 yards on 14 carries.

"We try to spread it around the best we can," said Simpkins. "Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn't work. Tonight it worked well for us."

Sikeston (1-7) was led by Dixon's 36 yards on eight carries. Adrian Douglas had 27 yards on three carries.

West Plains entered the district with a misleading 3-4 record after playing in the brutal Ozark Conference against Springfield's largest schools and top-

ranked Class 4 Camdenton.

"There's no doubt about it, our schedule helps get us prepared for district," said Simpkins. "We had it flip-flopped. In the old conference we were in, we were a 4A school in a 3A conference and we would do very well, but by district time we would play catch-up. But now we're in a good conference and we take a thumpin' sometimes. But we just try to stay healthy and be fully prepared for district time."

Sikeston will travel to Poplar Bluff next Friday while West Plains will host Cape Central.