JEFFERSON CITY -- The Sikeston Bulldogs dream season came to a nightmarish end Saturday afternoon, falling 37-8 to Jefferson City Helias in the Class 4 semifinals.
Sikeston, making their first semifinal appearance in school history, fell behind early to the Crusaders. On Helias' first offensive play, running back Brad Wilson took an option pitch and raced 67 yards to the end zone, giving the Crusaders an early lead.
On the ensuing Sikeston possession, quarterback Juqualin Wiggins was intercepted by Helias as the ball was returned to the Bulldog 19-yard line. The Sikeston defense held, but a Helias field goal made the score 10-0 with 7:23 remaining in the first quarter.
The Crusaders weren't done however, as fullback Conner White scored from 16 yards out and giving Helias a 16-0 advantage with 3:02 remaining in the first quarter.
The shell-shocked Bulldogs showed signs of life in the second quarter, taking advantage of two Helias penalties on third downs to put together a long drive that ended on a two-yard Wiggins touchdown run with 1:43 left in the first half. Wiggins then hit Niquavious Dixon for the two-point conversion and Sikeston trailed just 16-8.
The Bulldogs looked as if they were right back in the game when Trey Lewis intercepted a Clint Distler pass with 1:30 remaining in the first half, however, momentum changed quickly as Helias recovered a Sikeston fumble on the following play. The Crusaders took advantage as Distler hit Wilson for a 16-yard touchdown pass with 29 seconds remaining in the first half, giving Helias a 23-8 lead at halftime.
On the third play of the second half, Distler hit Joe Knaup with a 74-yard touchdown pass giving Helias a 30-8 lead. On the Crusaders next possession, Distler once again hit Knaup, this time for a 75-yard touchdown pass and the Crusaders put the game away 37-8.
Sikeston finished the season with a 13-1 record while Helias (14-0) will take on Kearney in the Class 4 State Championship game Friday afternoon at the Edward Jones Dome in St. Louis.
For complete coverage, see Monday's edition of the Standard Democrat.