But they weren't ready for Trey Lewis.
The senior had a career night in just his third game ever at quarterback, rushing for 217 yards on just six carries while throwing for 147 yards in leading the Bulldogs to a 41-0 shutout of the Bearcats.
Lewis had touchdown runs of 62, 59, 47 and 25 yards and also completed a 90-yard touchdown pass to Janiel Hatchett.
Dexter's defense contained most of Sikeston's other offensive weapons, but Lewis' excellent reads and fakes on the option and his improvisation in the open field proved to be too much for the Bearcats to handle.
"We're just lucky we had No. 9 (Lewis) on our side -- you take No. 9 away tonight and it's a much closer game," Sikeston coach Kent Gibbs said. "If we don't have one or two of those guys that can run really fast, this ballgame is 7-0 or 14-7 or something like that."
Even if Lewis wasn't darting through Bearcat defenders, Sikeston had a trump card -- its defense.
The Bulldogs forced four turnovers and limited the Bearcats to 140 yards of total offense in posting the shutout -- the second straight year they've blanked Dexter.
The biggest series of the game for the Bulldog defense was a goal-line stand midway through the second quarter as they were clinging to a 14-0 lead.
Dexter made it inside the Bulldog 5-yard line and had seven cracks at the end zone, including three straight from the 1-yard line, but Sikeston's defense stiffened up and was able to stop the Bearcats on downs.
"We had a half-yard to go and you'd think we'd be able to get a half-yard in that situation with double-tight and three backs in the backfield," Dexter coach Aaron Pixley said. "I was surprised we couldn't get a half-a-yard there. If we go in there and make it 14-7, it's a different football game. We have a totally different mindset at halftime."
Dexter (1-2) never threatened to score again until the game was well out of reach.
For Sikeston all-state linebacker Ray Clark, it was reminiscent of last season's memorable goal-line stand in a quarterfinal victory against Ladue.
"The goal-line stand felt like Ladue last year," Clark said. "Everybody just came together on that play and made sure they didn't score. That's the main goal of defense -- to keep that goose egg up on the board."
After Sikeston took the ball over on downs on the 1-yard line, the Bulldogs were able to get out of the shadow of their own end zone but still faced a 3rd-and-long situation on their own 10.
Lewis hit Hatchett on a short pass, but Hatchett did the rest, sprinting past the Bearcat secondary for a 90-yard touchdown to put the Bulldogs up 21-0.
"We stepped in there and got a little physical with them and kind of turned the tide a little bit and gave us some momentum," Gibbs said of the goal-line stand. "Then we broke a big play and kind of got things going."
Sikeston (3-0) tacked on another touchdown just before halftime on a Darryl Howard 10-yard run to go up 28-0. The play was set up by Lewis' 50-yard interception return to the 10.
Lewis put the game away in the third quarter with a pair of touchdown runs to ice the victory.
"It's like we would stop them, stop them, stop them, boom -- big play," Pixley said. "We couldn't get anything going on offense. When you put that much pressure on your defense to stay out there all night long against Sikeston, they're going to get some big plays."
Sikeston started the scoring on Lewis' 62-yard TD run with 6:50 left in the first quarter. Two and a half minutes later, Lewis scored on a sensational 59-yard run.
It started on a broken pass play in which he appeared to be bottled up by Bearcat defenders with nowhere to go, but Lewis used a pair of spin moves to shed tacklers and somehow stayed on his feet before breaking loose for the score.
Lewis wasn't even sure how to describe it.
"I guess I just call it natural instincts," he said. "Just the determination to get to that end zone. I don't want to fall -- I want it all on that one play."
Sikeston's offense totaled 467 yards with 320 coming on the ground.
Howard rushed for 82 yards on 16 carries.
Hatchett had 99 yards on two receptions.
Dexter quarterback Cody Stevens was 6-for-18 passing for 63 yards and three interceptions. He led the Bearcats in rushing with 54 yards on 13 carries.
As a team, the Bearcats only rushed for 77 yards on 30 attempts.
But despite the impressive statistics, Gibbs feels there is still room for improvement on the defensive side of the ball after seeing his team miss at least five chances at interceptions -- a problem that seems to be a recurring theme since the first game.
"You've got to hand it to our defense -- our defense played great," he said. "But we're dropping too many interceptions. You give a physical team like that a window and they get a little bit of momentum and they cause a turnover or two, you just don't know what happens. But overall we had a good game defensively tonight."
S -- Trey Lewis 62 run (Hunter Williams kick), 6:50.
S -- Trey Lewis 59 run (Hunter Williams kick), 4:20.
S -- Janiel Hatchett 90 pass from Trey Lewis (Hunter Williams kick), 5:19.
S -- Darryl Howard 10 run (Hunter Williams kick), 1:43.
S -- Trey Lewis 47 run (kick failed), 7:29.
S -- Trey Lewis 25 run (Hunter Williams kick), 1:52.
Dexter -- Cody Stevens 13-54, Joshua Overall 11-11, Nick Summers 4-5, Alex Cliff 1-5, Team 1-2. Sikeston -- Trey Lewis 6-217, Darryl Howard 16-82, James Watson 8-18, Kyland Gross 1-7, Darien Boyd 2-2, Markeith Bratcher 1-1, Chris Word 4-(-7).
Dexter -- Cody Stevens 6-18-3 63. Trey Lewis 6-12-0 147.
Dexter -- Alex Cliff 2-34, Jake Cox 2-18, Morgan Hedrick 1-6, Chase Young 1-5. Sikeston -- Janiel Hatchett 2-99, Kyland Gross 1-27, Keldon Warfield 1-11, Robert Garces 1-7, Darryl Howard 1-3.