(David Jenkins, Staff)
Afterall, while Sikeston was preparing to take on the winless Pirates, Cape Central and Farmington were about to tangle in a pivotal district clash.
But the Bulldogs played like a team that is focused and took care of business like they have done all season, stomping the Pirates 54-7 at Sikeston Public Schools Stadium.
The Bulldogs (8-0) received 13 points in the Class 4, District 1 standings to hold a one-point lead after Cape Central's 40-28 road victory over Farmington.
Sikeston will play at Houck Stadium on Thursday night to take on the Tigers, also 8-0, in a Class 4 showdown of state-ranked teams.
"They've been talking about Cape and Farmington and now it's here, so we'll get our chance," Gibbs said.
On Friday night, it was one of Sikeston's most complete performances of the season as they had no turnovers and executed on offense to near perfection.
"It's hard as a coach and a player knowing you've got a couple big games coming up and you're playing an opponent that's kind of down on their luck," Gibbs said. "To our kids' credit they came out and they did what they needed to do. We're looking forward to next week."
The Bulldogs scored 28 points and piled up a staggering 303 yards of offense in the first quarter alone.
"They were coming after us and they were coming hard," Perryville coach Keith Winkler said. "They were like sharks with a little blood -- they started feeding and they fed hard and we never recovered."
After taking a 35-0 lead early in the second quarter, Sikeston's backup players were already in the game.
The Bulldogs scored on their first five offensive possessions and also scored a defensive touchdown on Taylor Causey's strip and fumble return to quickly jump out to a 41-0 lead with 9:41 still left in the first half.
"When you play a team the caliber of Sikeston -- (they have) a lot of speed, a lot of athleticism," Winkler said. "Those guys, they're flat out fast. They're not No. 5 in the state for no reason. Coach Gibbs and his staff have done a great job with this program."
The Bulldogs totaled 560 yards of offense, which ties a season high that they set in the first game of the season against Obion County Central, Tenn.
Running back Darryl Howard had 110 yards on three carries with a 53-yard touchdown in the first quarter.
Quarterback Trey Lewis rushed for 94 yards on three carries with touchdown runs of 12 and 69 yards, while throwing for 82 yards, all in the first quarter. Lewis also intercepted a pass.
"Trey Lewis, boy, he runs that offense really well," Winkler said. "He puts that ball in there on that option and hides it really well and you get him in the open field, he's going to be tough to catch. And he throws a nice ball."
Janeil Hatchett had two receptions for 104 yards, including a dazzling 61-yard touchdown in which he took a short pass from sophomore Drew Harper, darted towards the sideline, then broke across the field where he picked up key downfield blocks, including a crushing blow by teammate Treston Pulley, to reach the end zone.
Hatchett's improvisation gave Harper a touchdown on his first-ever varsity pass attempt.
"That was good stuff," Gibbs said of Harper. "I told him on the sideline congratulations on your first varsity touchdown and I know he was appreciative on Janeil's effort because it was a great run after catch."
Harper also scored his first career touchdown on a 1-yard plunge in the third quarter.
James Watson (5 carries, 55 yards) had a 17-yard TD run and freshman Chris Word (4 carries, 42 yards) had a 22-yard tackle-breaking TD run.
Sophomores Darien Boyd (5-47) and Markeith Bratcher (3 receptions, 49 yards) also performed well in the second half.
"I thought those guys ran well," Gibbs said of his underclassmen. "We made some mistakes but overall I thought the young kids came in and performed well and held up their end of the bargain. I thought our old kids stayed in the game mentally and helped them do what they needed to do."
Sikeston's defense forced three turnovers and limited Perryville to 35 yards rushing and 120 total yards.
The Pirates just never could move the ball on offense but they did finally break the shutout in the fourth quarter on Ryan Kassinger's 25-yard TD reception from Joey Bauwens.
But it was the only real positive moment for the Pirates, who fall to 0-8 this season.
"Last year when we found out we were five students over in being a Class 4 school, we saw the district match-ups and we knew it was going to be very difficult," Winkler. "But at the same time you can whine about it and cry about it, but it's not going to help anything. We're just going to have to strap it on and we're going to have to find out what it's going to take to compete at this level. I think our young men found that the speed of the game has picked up, the size has picked up. And we're going to have to work hard in the offseason and do what it takes to compete at this level."
The Bulldogs finished the regular season undefeated at home for the second straight year to run the home winning streak to 14 straight victories at SPS Stadium.
Sikeston has now won 21 of its last 22 games.
"We got out there and played hard and came out with no injuries and we're ready to move on to next week," Gibbs said.
S -- Trey Lewis 12 run (Hunter Williams kick), 10:58.
S -- James Watson 17 run (Hunter Williams kick), 5:21.
S -- Trey Lewis 69 run (Hunter Williams kick), 2:53.
S -- Darryl Howard 53 run (Hunter Williams kick), 0:20.
S -- Taylor Causey 30 fumble return (Hunter Williams kick), 10:42.
S -- Janeil Hatchett 61 pass from Drew Harper (kick failed), 9:41.
S -- Drew Harper 1 run (kick failed), 6:06.
P -- Ryan Kassinger 25 pass from Joey Bauwens (Chris Zahner kick), 9:25.
S -- Chris Word 22 run (Hunter Williams kick), 5:50.
Perryville -- Lee Thaxton 8-17, Levi Zook 4-13, Cale Regelsperger 1-6, Cameron Wehmeyer 1-6, Terry Davis 1-5, Garrett Flentge 3-5, Jared Hotop 2-3, Garrett Zoellner 1-1, Josh Braddy 1-(-1), Team 2-(-9), Joey Bauwens 2-(-11). Sikeston -- Darryl Howard 3-110, Trey Lewis 3-94, James Watson 5-55, Darien Boyd 5-47, Chris Word 4-42, David Foster 4-17, Drew Harper 1-1, Team 2-(-2).
Perryville -- Joey Bauwens 12-23-1 85, Chris Zahner 0-2-1 0. Sikeston -- Trey Lewis 4-5-0 82, Drew Harper 2-3-0 74, David Foster 3-3-0 40.
Perryville -- Ryan Kassinger 7-82, Garrett Flentge 2-2, Lee Thaxton 1-2, Cale Regelsperger 1-0, Kirk Hadler 1-(-1). Sikeston -- Janeil Hatchett 2-104, Markeith Bratcher 3-49, Robert Garces 2-30, Parker Williams 1-13, Quentin Washington 1-0.