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Tuesday, Aug. 30, 2016

Homecoming Heartbreak: Sikeston unable to hold on to 22-6 halftime lead

Sunday, October 5, 2008

Josh Mills, Staff New Madrid County Central's Jamareia Jones is tackled by several Sikeston Bulldogs Friday night at Sikeston Public Schools Stadium.
SIKESTON -- The bid for a 4-2 record came up shy for the Sikeston Bulldogs on Friday evening as the visiting New Madrid County Central Eagles overcame a 22-6 halftime deficit to win by a final of 40-29 to spoil Homecoming festivities. NMCC on the other hand now sits at 4-2 on the season as they prepare for Park Hills Central on Friday.

The game was scoreless after one quarter of play as the punting game weighed heavy on both squads.

In the second quarter however, Sikeston jumped out to the lead at 5:45 as Eli Jackson ran in from one yard out followed by a Charlie Bohannon extra point kick.

NMCC answered under a minute later on a 68-yard touchdown pass to Kony Ealy from Dontre Jenkins and it appeared that the game would be a back-and-forth battle from that point on.

The Bulldogs put a few more points on the board at 4:19 on CJ Council's 6-yard run, Bohannon added the extra point and the lead was extended 14-6. Following the kickoff, Sikeston backed the Eagles back up to the end zone and managed a quick safety pushing the lead even further.

On the ensuing kickoff Sikeston scored once again, this time on a 26-yard pass to Niquavious Dixon from Bohannon as time expired on the first half. The Bulldogs failed on the two-point conversion and at the break the home team led 22-6 going into the locker rooms.

The second half was a completely different ballgame.

Josh Mills, Staff Sikeston's Niquavious Dixon catches the ball in front of NMCC's Bryan Waters for a touchdown Friday night.
What seemed to have been working for Sikeston in the first half was all void in the second half, as the Bulldogs managed three plays from scrimmage in the entire third quarter. One was a 67-yard run from Jackson, the second a stuffed run from Jackson and the third was an intercepted pass in the Bulldog end zone that NMCC eventually capitalized upon.

Jenkins was the number producer for the Eagles as he rushed in from two yards out with no time on the clock in the third quarter. The score was knotted at 22 apiece heading into the final 12 minutes.

The remaining minutes on the clock were heartbreaking for the Bulldogs as their visiting opponent put up 18 points to their seven, finishing the game with a 40-29 victory. A fumble from Sikeston set the tone to begin the quarter and just like that NMCC was on top and building momentum.

Jenkins had a 10-yard run, Bryan Waters had a 93-yard run and G'Darius Stevenson caught a 30-yard TD pass from Jenkins to equal the 18 points scored in the fourth.

Sikeston's lone fourth quarter touchdown came from CJ Council who caught a 12-yard pass from Bohannon just minutes before Bohannon left the game with an undisclosed injury.

Sikeston head coach Kent Gibbs said that he was disappointed in the loss, and was more upset that the team just let up in the second half.

"We played a good first half," said Gibbs following the loss. "But, we didn't play well in the second half, and they came out and took it to us. When your program has been where theirs (NMCC) has been and you've got that experience to know what to do in those situations, well, we haven't learned that yet. We haven't learned how to finish ballgames. We showed it a little bit against Cape Central, we showed it against Fredericktown and we showed it out here tonight."

"We ought to be upset that we got beat," he added. "We had a team down, a very good team down like we had them and you've got to finish the deal. We just didn't do it. There's nobody to blame but ourselves. Offensively, defensively, we've got to look at what we're doing coaching-wise and we've got to figure out a way to get over the hump and win those kind of games to be real honest about it."

What usually seems to be the Bulldogs' strong point, their running game, was near mute when the final buzzer sounded. Sikeston recorded 33 total rushing attempts to come up with only 48 yards on the ground.

Jackson, who manages nearly 100 yards per game as the feature running back for the Bulldogs, only recorded 54 total rushing yards on 16 carries.

"What they (NMCC) did was just lineup and play physical football and just whipped us up front in the second half," said Gibbs. "We had a hard time blocking them all night long. So, we got whipped up front, but at the same time we played well enough in some areas to win the football game, we just didn't execute."

Bohannon led the stat line with 231 yards in the air on 20 attempts and 13 completions.

On the other sideline, NMCC head coach Arlen Pixley said that his squad didn't necessarily provide a 'comeback', he said that they just finally started playing their natural game and did what they were used to doing, running the football right up the gut.

"It was about as wild as we've been playing them all year long," said Pixley. "It was just like the Cape Central game, where we were down at halftime and didn't play much in the first half then we were fortunate to come out in that one with a win. To score 40 on them (Sikeston) was a little bit of a chore."

"We came out in the second half and got right underneath their chins," he added. "We said 'Here we are. We're not doing anything fancy, let's just see what you're made of.' We looked back to what Jackson had done to them a few weeks ago, and Jackson's a lot bigger and stronger than us, but if you don't stop it two weeks ago, you aren't going to stop it today."

In the fourth quarter, when the score was tied at 22-22, Jenkins fumbled a ball and picked it up off the ground and somehow managed to create a play sending a TD pass towards Stevenson that basically sealed the deal for the Eagles.

Pixley said that Jenkins just created a play and that he credits that to his work ethic and the NMCC workouts.

"He (Jenkins) made a play," said Pixley. "He drew one up in the sand, but he's pretty athletic and can do that. He made a nice adjustment out there with G'Darius (Stevenson) out there in the flat and he came back in and caught it."

Jenkins was 5-for-8 passing with an interception, but his 162 yards in the air and three touchdowns trumped the lone mistake. He completed the evening with two rushing touchdowns and 184 total yards from scrimmage.

Waters had 17 carries for 181 yards and a touchdown while Ealy had three receptions for 108 yards, two of them being for touchdowns.

The Eagles had 403 total yards from scrimmage in the win, 241 in the rushing department.

NMCC, now 4-2, will head to Park Hills Central on Friday while Sikeston, 3-3, will travel south to Kennett to take on the 6-0 Indians.