(David Jenkins, Staff)
Already heavy underdogs coming into the game, a slow start proved to be a lethal combination for the Bluejays as Sikeston rolled to a 51-6 victory in the 125th meeting between the two rivals.
On the first play of the game for the Bluejays, a shotgun snap sailed over the quarterback's head for a 10-yard loss. Two plays later, quarterback Mike Hull slipped in the end zone under pressure from Sikeston's defense for a safety.
It was just the beginning of a long night for Charleston.
Following the free kick, Darryl Howard scored on Sikeston's first offensive snap of the game for a 37-yard touchdown run to give the Bulldogs a 9-0 lead before fans had gotten settled into their seats.
Like they had done the entire season before, the Bulldogs sensed weakness and pounced.
"(Charleston is) a little outmatched and they put it on the ground early and they get behind early, and it's demoralizing for them," Gibbs said. "Our kids did a nice job of taking advantage of that and keeping the pressure on and getting after it."
The Bulldogs put the nail in the coffin before the first quarter had ended, scoring 30 points in the opening frame and taking a 37-0 lead into halftime.
Charleston, coming off a 1-9 campaign last season, never had a chance.
"We did what we needed to do," Gibbs said. "At this particular stage in the game we're just a better football team and we just wanted to make sure that we went out and played to our capabilities and not really worry about anybody but ourselves. We're ready to move on to next week."
After surrendering 34 points and 409 yards of offense in last week's season-opening victory over Obion County Central, the Bulldog defense completely smothered the Bluejays, limiting them to 70 yards of offense.
The Bulldogs recorded seven three-and-outs on defense, held them on downs three times and forced three Bluejay turnovers.
The Bulldog offense was just as sharp, but the first unit was already pulled from the game midway through the second quarter.
"We were able to get a lot of kids into the ballgame and nobody got hurt," Gibbs said.
Sikeston totaled 330 yards of offense with 268 coming on the ground.
Most of the damage came in the first quarter.
Sikeston extended its lead to 16-0 on a James Watson 8-yard run after a Bluejay fumble set Sikeston up at the Charleston 19.
On Sikeston's next possession, quarterback Trey Lewis broke free for a 40-yard TD run.
Then with 54 seconds left in the first quarter, defensive lineman Faylon Marshall picked up a Bluejay fumble and returned it 30 yards for a touchdown, pushing the lead to 30-0.
Sikeston tacked on one more score before the half when junior wideout Keldon Warfield turned a short pass from Lewis into a 45-yard touchdown with 9:58 left in the second quarter.
In the third quarter, backup quarterback David Foster got in on the act. The 5-foot-7 junior faked an option handoff up the middle, fooling the entire Bluejay defense, and, before Charleston realized where the ball was, Foster was racing down the sideline for a 53-yard score.
Foster added another touchdown run later in the quarter, this time from 14 yards out to push the Bulldog lead to 51-0 with 3:15 left in the third.
Foster's two carries covered 67 yards, which led all Bulldog ball carriers. Howard had 50 yards on three carries and Lewis had 50 yards on two carries.
Lewis was 3-for-3 passing for 62 yards.
Charleston broke the shutout on the final play of the game as quarterback Jamaul Gray scored on a 26-yard run, dragging Bulldog defenders into the end zone after the clock had already sounded.
Gray was 6-for-13 passing for 35 yards and one interception.
Charleston (0-2) was limited to 35 yards rushing on 41 attempts.
"You've got to look at small things when you're trying to build a program," Gibbs said. "The things that I saw from Charleston tonight is they've got a lot of kids playing, I never saw any of their kids walking around or quitting, we didn't hear anything bad or bad blood between the teams. I know some people may think, 'they're not any better.' But that's not true -- they are better because they've got those kind of things going on for them. I think if they keep practicing and keep trying to get themselves better and understand that it's going to come in small increments, I think they'll be OK."
S -- Safety, 10:39.
S -- Darryl Howard 37 run (Hunter Williams kick), 10:20.
S -- James Watson 8 run (Hunter Williams kick), 5:29.
S -- Trey Lewis 40 run (Hunter Williams kick), 2:32.
S -- Faylon Marshall 30 fumble return (Hunter Williams), 0:54.
S -- Keldon Warfield 45 pass from Trey Lewis (Hunter Williams kick), 9:58.
S -- David Foster 53 run (Hunter Williams kick), 11:07.
S -- David Foster 14 run (Hunter Williams kick), 3:15.
C -- Jamaul Gray 26 run, 0:00.
Charleston -- Maurice Moore 6-47, Krushon Scott 10-16, Claude Armstrong 3-15, Jamaul Gray 14-(-4), Mike Hull 2-(-10), Kamari Allmon 4-(-12), Team 2-(-17). Sikeston -- David Foster 2-67, Darryl Howard 3-50, Trey Lewis 2-50, Chris Word 8-26, James Watson 2-24, Darien Boyd 6-21, Quentin Washington 2-18, Kyland Gross 1-8, Markeith Bratcher 2-4.
Charleston -- Jamaul Gray 6-13-1 35. Sikeston -- Trey Lewis 3-3-0 62, Janeil Hatchett 0-1-1 0.
Charleston -- Maurice Moore 3-20, Claude Armstrong 1-11, Sumner Foster 2-4. Sikeston -- Keldon Warfield 1-45, Janeil Hatchett 1-9, Quentin Washington 1-8.