(David Jenkins, Staff)
DEXTER -- Friday's game between Ste. Genevieve and Dexter rivaled that of a video game as both teams put up gaudy stats, but when the dust settled the state-ranked Dragons held off the young Bearcats 40-35.
The two teams combined for more than 850 yards of total offense with most of it coming through the air. Ste. Genevieve's highly -touted junior quarterback Kory Faulkner passed for 446 yards on 40-of-49 passing with six touchdowns.
"They were very explosive," said Dexter head coach Aaron Pixley. "They did some things that we didn't know they would do. Typically Ste. Genevieve is a pro style offense that does play-action very well. Even in their jamboree they didn't show any of this offense. They stayed under center, with two backs, two tight ends and a flanker. We had to do some major adjusting after that first play and it took us about three quarters to do it."
Dexter had a good offensive night of their own, led by sophomore quarterback Ben Mills, making his first varsity start. Mills threw for 273 yards (21-of-27) and four touchdowns.
(David Jenkins, Staff)
Mills and the Bearcats were not expecting to pass as much as they did but the Ste. Genevieve offense wasted little time against the Dexter defense. Ste. Genevieve took the opening kickoff and Faulkner immediately began picking apart the Bearcat defense using short, precise passes to his wide receivers and running backs. Faulkner tossed a 9-yard touchdown pass to Josh Meyer for the Dragons first score and followed that with a 45 yard touchdown pass to Tyler Thomure to give Ste. Genevieve a 13-0 lead with 5:04 left in the first quarter.
Dexter answered with a 22-yard touchdown pass from Mills to Bobby Rawson cutting the Dragon lead to 13-6. However, Faulkner wasn't phased as he responded by throwing touchdown passes to Curt Roth (8 yards) and Thomure (34 yards).
After a Dexter touchdown pass from Mills to Windham, Ste. Genevieve scored just before the half on a pass from Faulkner to Chad Greminger covering 12 yards, giving the Dragons a 33-12 halftime advantage.
The Dragons continued their passing ways in the second half, scoring on their first possession on a Faulkner pass to Schmelzle, giving Ste. Genevieve a 40-12 lead.
After a Mills to Rawson touchdown pass the Bearcats trailed just 40-20 with 11:38 remaining. A sack of Faulkner on the next possession by Dexter's Caleb Stanley seemed to spark the Bearcats and the Dragon offense suddenly began to sputter.
"After the sack by Caleb Stanley I felt like we kinda took over the game and we started making plays on defense," Pixley said. "Our offense did their job, battling back and we got scores when we needed them and our kids gave themselves a chance to win this football game."
After Stanley's sack the Bearcats forced the Dragons to punt for the first time in the game. Dexter's Zach Braswell then returned the punt 57 yards to the endzone, cutting the Ste. Genevieve lead to 40-28.
The Bearcat defense continued to frustrate the Dragons as David Hessling intercepted a Faulkner pass with 6:48 left in the game. The Bearcats turned the ball over on downs and Ste. Genevieve regained possession.
However, the Dragons were still not firing on all cylinders and a poor handoff exchange resulted in a fumble, recovered by Dexter's Glen Johnson. Mills then fired a 50-yard touchdown pass to Rawson with 1:26 left in the game. Down 40-35, an onside kick attempt failed and the Dragons ran out the clock.
The Dexter offense ended the night with 365 yards, including 92 on the ground. The Bearcats were led in rushing by sophomore Nick Hessling's 100 yards.
"What kind of gets lost is that our running game was decent when we could actually run it," Pixley said. "We did a great job running the ball. Our line, which we have a long way to go across our offensive line, but at the same time I thought they blocked really well."
Still, the story of the night was the Ste. Genevieve offense which compiled 520 yards.
"They have an excellent offense and they run it great," Pixley said. "It's awesome and one of the better offenses I've ever seen.
"When you play against teams like (Ste. Genevieve) your offense has to match them. That is sort of unrealistic, especially against a good, solid defense like that too. Our guys did a good job of fighting back. I'm very proud of them but we've got to get better in a lot of phases and they know that."
Dexter (0-1) will travel to Festus Friday.