(Photos by David Jenkins, Staff)
SIKESTON -- It has been nothing but Dexter Bearcat dominance over the Sikeston Bulldogs on the football field for the last six years. On Friday night though, the Bulldogs ended the Dexter winning streak in a 49-27 victory at Sikeston Public High School Stadium.
"For us, with our program where it is, any win you get is a good win, particularly a hard-fought win," Sikeston head coach Kent Gibbs said. "Winning's not easy. It's tough to do and our program has been down for four or five years now and it's tough to get back in there."
With the Bulldogs down by a touchdown, 14-7, early in the second quarter, Jackson received the handoff and took off towards the right side of the field from the 33-yard line. Seeing all Dexter defensive players on their way towards him, Jackson reversed the play and cut back to the opposite side of the field, managing to break away for a 25-yard run.
The very next play Jackson scored the 8-yard touchdown run that tied the game at 14-14, which would be the last time the score would be tied again.
Sikeston went into halftime with a 28-14 advantage.
After falling to a three touchdown deficit early in the second half, Dexter scored two consecutive touchdowns to make it a little more interesting with time running out.
Nick Hessling, who was in the lineup for the first time this season because of an ankle injury, started the Dexter comeback with a 4-yard run with 43 seconds left to play in the third quarter. Bearcat quarterback Ben Mills got his rhythm going in the fourth quarter when he completed a 16-yard touchdown pass to Gary Summers, which made it an eight-point game after a missed extra point attempt.
It looked like the momentum was shifting in the Bearcat's favor after the two scores, but a huge play from the legs of Sikeston's quarterback soon changed that perception.
With 6:15 left to play in the game, Bohannon took the snap and faked a handoff to a tailback and then rolled out to the left side. Seeing that no receiver was open, he decided to keep it himself and take off.
As it would turn out, that was the best decision.
He ran for a 61-yard touchdown that would seal the deal for Sikeston and give them their second win on the young season.
"They're quarterback on the bootleg really got us," Dexter head coach Aaron Pixley said of Bohannon's 61-yard touchdown scramble. "We were at times not staying at home and really flying on the play action. Our people on the backside were just getting sucked up on the run. It was just over aggression."
Sikeston added another touchdown for safety measures with 54 seconds left off a Jackson five yard run that was initially set up by a 40-yard interception return from C J Council.
"Obviously, the last score was big," Gibbs said. "It was one of those things where we needed to quit playing around and get it in and we did. Our effort was good and our intensity was good."
The Bulldogs defense allowed 132 rushing yards and 247 passing yards. Gibbs said that there is room for improvement there.
"At times our defense looked pretty good," said Gibbs. "We played two or three good plays and then all of a sudden we played three or four thats not very good. For us to be a good football team we got to clean the defense up to where we're playing good for four or five series' in a row instead of just one. Part of that is the maturation process, and I understand that, but we're getting ready to get into some of these big schools and we're going to have to do a better job."
Jackson led the running game with 150 yards on 20 carries and three rushing touchdowns. Bohannon added 12 carries for 145 yards and two touchdowns. He also was very accurate with his passes completing 8-of-10 for 79 yards and one touchdown to Rico Ivy.
Niquavious Dixon was the Bulldogs leading receiver with three catches and 53 yards.
Mills passed for 247 yards and one touchdown for the Bearcats completing 18 passes on 31 attempts and was intercepted twice.
"We worked on getting into our drops and setting our feet and throwing and getting the ball out," said Pixley of his quarterback. "He did a great job at that and that's why he was so successful on a lot of our drives. Our wide receivers made some great catches out there. They kept some drives going for us and both of our wide outs I felt like they had a dang good night."
Gary Summers caught eight passes for 118 yards and one touchdown to lead Dexter's receiving core while Ryan Windham caught five passes for 69 yards.
"There were some really bright spots out there," said Pixley. "It's just that we have to get consistent and we have some kids out there that's not used to this yet. Until all 11 guys on the field are on the same page and we're all doing our jobs one hundred percent every single play, we're going to struggle at times.
"I felt like our team played harder tonight," Pixley added. "So, we just have to move on to possibly the toughest team on our schedule next week which is Poplar Bluff. So, we just got to stay ready and keep on keeping on."
Out of the first three games of the season, Sikeston has already matched their total win record of all last season. Gibbs is hoping to use this game as a springboard for the rest of the season.
"We started out 2-0 last year and then we kind of let it go," said Gibbs. "We don't want to rest on this. We're getting ready to play some folks thats going to give us everything that we can take and we're going to see where we are as a program. Hopefully we can mature a little bit and we'll be able to handle some of those things."
Sikeston (2-1) will travel to Jackson next Friday while Dexter (0-3) will host Poplar Bluff.