[Nameplate] Partly Cloudy ~ 73°F  
High: 89°F ~ Low: 72°F
Friday, Aug. 26, 2016

Sikeston defense answers challenge

Saturday, August 18, 2007

Sikeston SHS sophomore running back Eli Jackson clutches the ball while being slowed down by the Bulldogs' defense Friday night
(Photos by Tim Jaynes, Staff)
Bulldogs attacked ball, forced a fumble, applied pressure in backfield

SIKESTON -- The Sikeston Bulldogs showed some signs of life on offense, but it was their defense that shined Friday night.

During the Red and Black Scrimmage at Sikeston Public Schools Stadium, the defense dominated for most of the night while the offense proved it has the ability to gain large chunks of yardage very quickly.

"Our defense was better than our offense," Sikeston coach Kent Gibbs said. "We have to get better at getting off the ball. But I believe that our offense will come around."

On Sikeston's first series of plays, the Bulldogs essentially went four-and-

Sikeston quarterback Chase Ferrell is taken down as he attempts a pass Friday
out. Charlie Bohannon's passing attempt on first down fell incomplete before Eli Jackson ran the ball two consecutive times for a gain of four yards on the first play and no yardage on the second. The final play of the series was a scamper for five yards that would been short of a new set of downs.

But the Bulldogs overcame a sluggish start on their second offensive series. Courvirseya Strickland blasted the left side of the line for a two-yard gain and Bohannon rolled out to the left, but threw another incompletion.

That's when Sikeston used its rushing attack to set up the pass. Gaviland Bland asserted himself through the middle of the line to pick three yards before Jackson ran off seven more yards to give the Bulldogs a first down.

After Strickland accumulated six yards on a counter play, Bohannon hit Brandon Wright over the middle for a gain of 20 yards and another first down. Then, Bland reeled off 10 yards on the ground for Sikeston's second first down in as many plays.

With the Bulldogs perched 30 yards from the goal line, Bohannon dropped back and found Demetrious Jackson streaking down the left sideline. The Sikeston receiver hauled in Bohannon's apparent TD pass in the corner of the end zone, but the strike was waived off after the Bulldogs were whistled for holding.

The Sikeston offense clicked quickly during its third series with the ball. On second down at its own 20 yard line, Bland, who is penciled in as the Bulldogs' fullback, ripped off 57 yards after charging around the right side of the line.

With the Bulldogs 23 yards away from the end zone, Strickland picked up Sikeston's fifth first down of the scrimmage by exploiting the left side for 14 yards. On only the third play of the series, Bohannon completed a nine-yard TD pass to Josh Pierce, who snuck behind the defense and made the catch in the back of the end zone.

"We got some big plays, and I think that's good because we have the big-play capability. But (the offense) has to be able to grind-out a drive because we can't rely on big plays. There will be teams that we play against that won't give us an opportunity to make those big plays," Gibbs said.

The Bulldogs' defense routinely found itself in the offensive backfield. With pressure coming from all sides, Bohannon was forced to roll out to find open receivers instead of having time to weigh his options from inside the pocket.

Defensive lineman Anthony Malbia forced running back Mark Fraser to fumble. Quarterback Chase Ferrell was also felt the heat the Sikeston defense, which took him down on one play as he attempted to pass.

"I was pleased with the way the defense played. We did a good job of finding the football and a good job with the schemes that we used," Gibbs said.

On Friday, Sikeston travels to New Madrid County Central High School, where the Bulldogs will take part in a jamboree with the Eagles, East Prairie and Perryville.