Turnovers and penalties once again proved to be the downfall of the Bluejays. Charleston turned the ball over four times and committed six costly infractions for 55 yards.
"We have got a lot of our starters banged up and we are playing young players at many positions they have never played before," said Charleston head coach Al Marshall. "Our starting running back is new to his position and we have freshmen playing a lot of minutes out there. We have juniors playing for the first time so it is extremely difficult to get a road win with an inexperienced team against a very good team."
Charleston did play even with Dexter through much of the first quarter. On the Bearcats' initial possession in the first quarter, quarterback Josh Stevens fumbled on his own 44-yard line and Bluejay linebacker Billy Butler quickly recovered the loose pigskin.
The Bluejays ran three rushing plays and had a fourth-and-two on Dexter's 37-yard line. Instead of going for the first down, Marshall decided to punt and the game seemed to go downhill from there for Charleston.
Dexter got on the scoreboard on a Logan Swindle 30-yard field goal at 2:07 of the first quarter, despite Charleston's Matt Medlock partially blocking the kick, which bounced off the crossbar and through for the field goal. The play was an ominous sign of things to come for the Bluejays.
From the start of the second, Dexter seized a tight grip on the contest. Charleston lined up for a punt attempt on their own 11-yard line. Bluejay punter Brian Caldwell had trouble handling a bad snap from the center and was tackled by Dexter's Bobby Rawson on the 1-yard line.
Running back Zach Ventura scored the first of his three rushing touchdowns on the night on the next play for the Bearcats. The extra point attempt by Dexter pretty much summed up the night for the Bluejays.
The holder for the Bearcats could not handle the snap and the football was scooped up by the kicker Swindle, who ran to his right looking for an open receiver. Swindle found a wide open David Hessling in the back of the end zone for two points. Dexter led 11-0 with 11 minutes remaining in the second quarter.
Charleston had what looked to be a promising drive with eight minutes to play in the second after a 32-yard pass completion from Clark to Medlock. However, on the next play Clark fumbled trying to avoid the Bearcats' heavy rush and Dexter recovered on their 49-yard line.
Stevens completed two separate 18-yard passes to Swindle and Taylor Joyner to set up his 3-yard quarterback sneak for the score. Dexter led 18-0 with five minutes to play before half.
The Bearcats mixed it up in the first half and threw the football 21 times for 106 yards.
"Charleston made it tough defensively because they are constantly moving around up front," said Dexter coach Aaron Pixley. "I thought we were a little tentative with the running game in the first half and we had some trouble getting going. We got more aggressive in the second half."
In the first half Charleston recorded only one first down and had three rushing yards.
"We had a very good defensive effort tonight," said Pixley. "We swarmed the ball and stopped some pretty good running backs they have over there."
Dexter had a commanding 24-0 lead at the break as Stevens scored again on a quarterback sneak from the 1-yard line.
Charleston sophomore running back Jerquawn Sherrell kept the contest respectable early on in the second half as he had a kickoff return to start the third quarter of 91 yards and scored on a 69-yard run on the Bluejays' second possession in the half.
"That kid is a tough runner and we missed a few tackles that we should of had," said Pixley. "He is a good running back and is a load to bring down."
Dexter tacked on three more scores after the Sherrell run, including two Ventura TD runs of 39- and 1-yard, and a 40-yard touchdown pass from Stevens to Drew Pixley.
Ventura was held in check throughout much of the first half and only had 33 yards at the break. The second half was a totally different story for Ventura as he ran for 116 yards and scored two touchdowns.
Charleston continues to endure injuries to its team. Wide out Jamarcus Williams was out with a broken leg, Joseph Watts played with a hurt knee but only on defense and Butler hurt his shoulder midway through the contest with Dexter.
"It has been a long year with all of our injuries," said Marshall. "We are not going to quit and we will keep working hard. Injuries are a part of the game, but we have been hit especially hard."
Dexter (5-1) travels to Hayti next Friday to take on the Caruthersville Tigers at 7 p.m.
Charleston (2-3) will try to stop a three-game losing streak on Friday as the Fredericktown Blackcats come to town. Kickoff is scheduled for 7 p.m.