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Sikeston football team set to take on undefeated Cape Central

Wednesday, October 20, 2010 ~ Updated 8:49 PM

(Photo)
Sikeston's Trey Lewis (9) is congratulated by Kyland Gross (3) after scoring a touchdown against Jackson earlier this season. Lewis, a senior quarterback, has thrown for 994 yards and nine touchdowns and rushed for 754 yards and 14 touchdowns. David Jenkins, Staff
CAPE GIRARDEAU -- It's a game that Sikeston quarterback Trey Lewis has had circled on his calender all season long.

He knew the meeting between his Sikeston Bulldogs and the Cape Central Tigers would be a big one even before a single game was played in the regular season.

"We know this is the big game of the year," said Lewis. "We marked this game on our schedule a long time ago. We knew after the contact camp it was going to be a big game. We're all ready to go."

Considering what the Bulldogs and Tigers have accomplished this season, a lot will be riding on their Thursday night matchup. Both come in with unblemished records and have more or less dominated the local area as two of the better teams in the state.

Although bragging rights and knocking off an undefeated team may be on the line, getting a leg up on the district makes this game that much bigger.

"It's the biggest game, obviously, we will have played this year," Sikeston head coach Kent Gibbs said. "That's why you want to play. You want to play in big games, you want to play in front of big crowds and certainly we hope we have a lot of fans up there. We hope the place it's packed.

"One game is not going to make a season, but at the same time, it's a huge football game and it's one that we really need to win."

The similarities between the two teams are uncanny. They're each state-ranked in Class 4 with Sikeston at No. 5 and Cape Central at No. 9.

Each team features a daunting running attack that has amassed over 2,600 yards this year. Cape Central has averaged 340 yards a game, while Sikeston gains 336 per game.

They both have numerous ball carriers to do their bidding as each team has had at least five players total at least 20 carries so far this season.

They each also have their workhorses. Keilon Moore paces the Tigers with 82 carries for 870 yards and 13 touchdowns. Darryl Howard leads Sikeston with 95 touches for 944 yards and 11 touchdowns.

"They've got a strong running game, much like us in the fact that they spread the wealth and we do the same," Gibbs said. "It's an interesting matchup. The physicality of them and how they like to pound the ball at people, I think that's got to be a concern. It's going to be important for us to make some plays and not let them just bulldoze us.

"Offensively, we got to make big plays. We're a big play offense and we got to have some big plays."

The Bulldogs lead in the passing department, however, as Lewis has passed for nearly 1,000 yards (994) on 51-of-84 for nine touchdowns and just one interception this year.

Christian Cavaness leads the Tiger passing game with 589 yards and 11 touchdowns. His attempts match Lewis' completions with 51 as he has completed 33 passes. Cavaness also has thrown three interceptions.

"I think that they're a little bit more physical than we are and I think we're a little bit more finesse team offensively," said Gibbs. "Defensively, we like to come after you and they like to come after you. So, in that regard, I think we're very similar."

They even resemble each other outside the stat lines.

Recently falling on hard times, this year's Cape Central team bares a striking resemblance to the 2009 Sikeston Bulldogs.

The 2010 Tigers have came out of nowhere following a winless season a season ago and swiftly became the team to beat following impressive wins to begin their season and continuing to win.

"I think that they have a lot of momentum," Gibbs said. "They're coming off of what we were before so, they're going to be excited to play in front of their fans. But, I think our kids are ready too, though. I think that we've been looking forward to this ball game. You put all that together, shake it out, and we'll see how it turns out.

"I think both teams are going to be really excited to play in this kind of venue and this type of crowd and this type of game."

Although it still remains to be seen how the district and season will play out, Sikeston is still the defending district champs. And according to the Bulldogs, they're not ready to give up that title and submitting to the great season the Tigers are having at the same time.

"We know what it takes," senior lineman Corey Porter said. "We've had down years just like they had last year. We know how hard it is to rebuild something that good but, at the same time, we're not going to let down for whatever they have going. We want to have good years, not just a good year.

"They're a team that will try and sneak up and win the district," Porter added. "They don't realize that we're the defending district champs. But, they apparently don't care. We're just going to have to come out and smack them in the mouth and show them that we're the returning district champs."

Becoming district champions is the underlying factor. Each team has one win in district play after Sikeston defeated Perryville and Cape Central knocked off Farmington.

"Certainly, if you go up 2-0 as far as victories that's huge," said Gibbs. "They're looking at it the same way. I think the kids are looking forward to it and I think the coaches are looking forward to it. Hopefully, we'll go and execute and do the things we need to do.

"We've told our kids all week, 'you don't shy away from competition. You meet it.' You go out and play. You play the best you can and the best team comes out on top."

"We're just going to have to play Sikeston Bulldog football," said Lewis. "We'll just have to let them know that we're defending district champs and this district is still ours. We're going to come out and play hard.

"Last year, our season came out of nowhere but, that's not taking away the hype of us this year. We're still going to come out and play every game hard."