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Wednesday, July 23, 2014

'Dogs earn first win

Sunday, October 16, 2005

(Photo)
Sikeston fullback Acie Dixon plants a stiff-arm on a Kennett defender.
SIKESTON - The Sikeston Bulldogs picked up their first win of the season on Friday night as they held on to defeat Kennett 26-20 at SPS Stadium.

Sikeston posted a season-high in offensive yardage with 219 and rushing yardage with 191.

The Bulldog defense also had its best night of the year, limiting the Indians to 193 total yards and just 37 rushing yards.

It was just what Sikeston needed with Class 4, District 1 starting next week.

"That's a good momentum change for us," said Sikeston coach Jerry Dement. "I'm proud of the kids' efforts even though we've been struggling all year. The hard work paid off and we got a win. It's nice to get one."

(Photo)
Sikeston's Byron Davis fights for extra yardage.
It didn't come easy though.

Sikeston (1-6) scored the go-ahead touchdown with 7:44 left in the game and dodged three bullets by the Indians in the final minutes as penalties brought back two touchdowns and a third play that set up first-and-goal.

Kennett (3-4) head coach Kirk Welch didn't want to comment on the penalties, two of which were blocking in the back.

Dement, however, was just happy that his team caught some breaks.

"Sometimes you have to get fortunate," said Dement. "I'm just glad they had some plays called back because those are game-changers."

Sikeston still hasn't solved the turnover bug. The Bulldogs fumbled the ball four times, losing all four. Two of those came on kick returns.

But Kennett was just as poor. The Indians fumbled six times on the night, most coming on bad shotgun snaps, losing three. They also had an interception.

"That isn't characteristic of us until last week and we started turning the ball over," said Welch. "When you're struggling and trying to turn a program around, you can't do that. Both teams deserved to win and both teams deserved to lose. We both put the ball on the ground a lot tonight."

Early on, it appeared Sikeston was on its way to another loss as the Indians jumped out to a 13-0 lead in the second quarter.

Kennett got on the board with 5:09 left in the second quarter as they marched 45 yards on just four plays capped by Marco Finley's 2-yard plunge.

Sikeston fumbled the ensuing kick return, setting up the Indians at the Bulldog 26.

On the very next snap, quarterback Robert Lockett hit Mario McGraw for a 26-yard touchdown pass, giving the Indians a 13-0 lead with 5:09 left in the half.

Sikeston did respond with a 58-yard drive just before the half. The Bulldogs needed six plays, capped by quarterback Chase Ferrell's 26-yard touchdown pass to Joey Williams with 2:23 left in the half.

The kick was wide, leaving Kennett with a 13-6 halftime lead.

Sikeston took its first lead of the game to start the third quarter.

Sophomore transfer Byron Davis returned the kick across midfield to the Indian 45. The Bulldogs then went the rest of the way on nine plays with Acie Dixon barreling in from eight yards out.

Ferrell ran in the two-point conversion to give Sikeston a 14-13 lead with 7:

26 left in the third quarter.

Later in the quarter, Kennett fumbled a handoff which Sikeston recovered at the Indian 8-yard line. Three plays later, senior fullback Adrian Douglas plowed in from the 1-yard line to extend the Bulldog lead to 20-13.

On Kennett's ensuing possession, the Bulldogs had the Indians facing a 4th-

and-12 from the Sikeston 42.

But Welch elected not to punt. The move paid off as Lockett hit Wesley Jackson on a perfect pass in stride for a 42-yard touchdown. Drake Daniels booted the extra point to tie things up at 20-20 with 10:55 left in the game.

The Bulldogs fumbled on the ensuing kickoff, giving the Indians great field position at the 33. But after three plays, another bad shotgun snap was recovered by Sikeston defensive end Tyler Baker, returning it into Indian territory at the 36.

Four plays later, Dixon pounded it in from 2 yards out, giving the Bulldogs a 26-20 lead with 7:44 left in the game.

McGraw returned the ensuing kickoff 80 yards for a touchdown, but blocking in the back brought the play back to the Indian 40-yard line.

The Indians had another play, a 55-yard screen pass to Jared Hughes before he was tackled at the 1-yard line, also called back on a blocking in the back penalty.

The drive finally ended as Lockett's deep pass on 4th-and-long was intercepted by Brandon Wright.

Kennett didn't run the ball much in the second half, which, according to Welch was not part of their plan. Instead, the opted for several deep passes.

"We felt like we had enough speed to get behind their guys," said Welch. "We had a couple pass interference calls and we made some good catches. We got out of our game-plan a little bit.

"They put eight people in the passing lanes and outside the tackle box, then you've got to be able to run the football up the middle. But their defensive line did a great job."

Sikeston ran out the remaining 4:32 on the clock with 11 straight running plays.

"I said earlier this week that they're probably the best 0-6 team in the state," said Welch. "They've played a lot bigger games than we have."

Kennett's Finley, who entered the game as one of the top rushers in the area, was limited to 46 yards on 11 carries.

Lockett finished with negative rushing yardage, losing nine yards on 16 carries. He was sacked four times.

"Containing Finley was huge -- he's the key to their offense," said Dement. "He and Lockett are two very good athletes. We contained them defensively and made them go up top. We got an interception out of it and got some stops. Robert Madison, our nose guard, put a lot of pressure on their center and caused some bad snaps out of the shotgun. That was huge and it took them out of some drives. He is getting better by leaps and bounds. He's going to be a good one."

Lockett threw for 156 yards, completing 8-of-19 passes.

Hughes caught four passes for 53 yards to lead the receiving attack.

"They kind of stuffed us on the outside -- we had some success running the ball up the middle," said Welch.

"Then they came out and made better adjustments in the second half and made more plays than we did. They did a better job of coaching than I did and their team made some plays."

Sikeston was playing without its two top receivers, Robbie Howard and Julian Beard, which forced Dement to keep the ball on the ground for most of the night.

Ferrell only attempted three passes, completing two for 28 yards, including the scoring toss to Williams.

"We had some adversity before the game and it kind of took our pass offense away from us so we were forced to go with more of a run game," said Dement. "We had some new guys in there and we played pretty conservative offensively. The offensive line did a good job and the backs ran well."

Dixon continued his consistent running as he gained 83 yards on 14 carries with two scores. Davis, in his first start at tailback, gained 54 yards on 11 carries which is the most by a Bulldog tailback this year.

Jerod Scott came in late to carry six times for 44 yards from the tailback position. Douglas, the second of Sikeston's two 240-pound fullbacks, carried six times for 22 yards.

"We knew coming in that they were bigger and stronger than we were," said Welch. "They've got some big guys up front and some backs that are big. We kept calling them bowling balls with arms and legs. You can't hit those guys up in the mouth, you've got to tackle them low."

Kennett will open district play next week with a home game against Dexter.

The Bulldogs, which have shown considerable improvement since the early part of the season, are now setting their sights on defending district champ West Plains.

The Zizzers will visit SPS Stadium next Friday for Sikeston's final home game.

"We really felt like we've played better the last three weeks," said Dement. "Starting with the first half at Farmington and then last week against New Madrid we had a good chance to win that one. Then finally it paid off tonight. We're seeing slow improvement and we're getting contributions out of several different people now."