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Saturday, Aug. 27, 2016

Bearcats get first win over Poplar Bluff since 1989

Monday, September 25, 2006

Dexter quarterback Josh Stevens hugs head coach Aaron Pixley.
DEXTER - The Dexter Bearcats football team needed two days and overtime but they defeated the visiting Poplar Bluff Mules 10-7 at Charles Bland Stadium on Saturday night.

Dexter has waited since 1989 for a victory over Poplar Bluff, so what was two days for Bearcat nation?

The Bearcats trailed 7-0 when the game was called on Friday night due to inclement weather and 17 years of frustration for Dexter was erased as Logan Swindle hit a 27-yard field goal to end the game in overtime.

The kick was redemption for Swindle who weeks earlier missed a game-trying attempt against Festus.

"That was just a great kick made by Logan," said Dexter head coach Aaron Pixley. "We have all the confidence in the world when it comes to Logan. We never hesitated to use him when the situation came up. We knew tonight that if we got past the 20-yard line we were going to kick it. On the kick we got great blocking, a good snap and hold. It was just a great kick in a pressure situation."

Dexter's Chad Ventura tries to bring down Poplar Bluff's Derrick Douglas.
Before the weather interrupted play on Friday, Mules quarterback Asa Wyatt hit tight end Tim Stonecipher over the middle for a 15-yard touchdown pass with 5:35 to play in the first quarter.

When the two teams reconvened on Saturday, a renewed intensity seemed to surround the Bearcats even though they returned trailing 7-0.

"I feel that we played much better tonight," said Pixley. "We were missing some blocks on Friday and one guy blew up plays. It has something to do with how pumped the guys get when we play Poplar Bluff. The kids were talking about Poplar Bluff all week leading up to the game and I think they were kind of wore out when the game starting on Friday. The boys came out on Saturday with more focus and intensity and got a big win for the program."

Dexter tied the contest with a 12 play, 66-yard drive capped by a 30-yard touchdown pass from Josh Stevens to a streaking Drew Pixley at 7:20 of the third quarter.

Poplar Bluff responded on their next possession as running back Jimmy Dye ran off right tackle for the Mules and broke several tackles on his way to what appeared to be a 66-yard touchdown.

The run of Dye was negated however by an illegal block on the Mules and Poplar Bluff had to settle for a first down on the Dexter 34-yard line instead of a touchdown. The drive stalled on the Bearcats 21-yard line after the Mules failed to convert on a fourth- and-14 play.

Patches of mud replaced much of what was once grass at the start of the fourth quarter. Both defenses were stout in the contest as the Mules limited the potent Bearcat running attack to only 93 total yards in the contest. Dexter's defense allowed 260 yards of total offense from Poplar Bluff, but the Bearcats came up huge when they had to.

Poplar Bluff drove down to the Dexter 15-yard line on the strength of running by Dye and a personal foul penalty against Dexter. The defense of the Bearcats stiffened as they dropped Wyatt for a loss on a running play and deflected a pass that was a possible first down for the Mules.

The Mules decided to kick a 33-yard field goal and the kick went just wide right.

The Bearcats defense stoned the Mules on a fourth-and-two play from the Dexter 8-yard line with two minutes remaining in the contest. In overtime, Dexter forced the Mules to kick a 40-yard field goal which fell just short of the goal post.

"Our defense won the game for us tonight," said Pixley. "They made play after play and stepped up when we needed a big play. I am so proud of my team because the kids never quit even when their backs were against the wall. A lot of emphasis is put on the Poplar Bluff game and they are well coached over there. It was just a sweet win."

Poplar Bluff (1-3) travels to Bonne Terre to meet the North County Raiders on Friday at 7 p.m.

Dexter (3-1) goes on the road Friday night to face undefeated Malden Green Wave (4-0).