(Photo by Brent Shipman, Staff)
DEXTER -- Much like their regional match up against the St. Genevieve Dragons last Wednesday, the Dexter Bearcats will enter Monday's sectional contest against the Park Hills Central Rebels going against a team they've already played in the regular season.
Though the Bearcats won the first meeting 14-0, Dexter coach Aaron Pixley doesn't expect that will have much bearing on Monday's game being it was over two months ago.
"Just because we won the first time around doesn't mean a thing," Pixley said. "This is two totally different teams going at it here. Two teams that are playing very well and are very much improved from that point in the season until now."
If this game is anything like their last, however, the Bearcats should be able to more than hold their own.
Going against the Rebels in week two of the season, Dexter was able to shut down a Rebel's offense that went on to score 30 or more points in eight of their 11 games this season.
While containing Park Hill Central's running game most of the night, Bearcat defensive backs were able to feast on Rebel quarterback Aaron Tyree who was picked off five times on the contest, three of those by safety Jake Cox.
Though the Bearcats offense had one of its lower scoring games of the year, it it came through when needed.
Connecting on a five-yard pass to Cox with under a minute in the first quarterback, Dexter quarterback Cody Stevens capped a 10 play, 72 yard drive gave the Bearcats a 7-0 lead.
It wasn't until the midway through the fourth that the Bearcats added an insurance score when Nick Summers took the ball in from 14 yards out.
With the Rebels dealing with the loss of a few running backs and lineman in the last contest that forced them to become more passed oriented, Pixley expects Park Hills Central to be back to their usual ground-and-pound style of football this coming week.
"Apparently they were without a few people they have back now from the first time we played them, so it will be a little different having that aspect," Pixley said. "They are doing a few different things, but they're definitely going to run the football.
"We have to line up and stop it. If we don't stop it they're going to beat us."
Pixley added that if they aren't careful, the Rebels passing game can be just as much of a threat.
"They can throw the ball," he said. "They run a few trick plays now so that if you're not focused, concentrating on every single play, you can kind of get sucked up on the run and then they'll beat you deep."
Both teams enter sectionals coming off big offensive performances in regionals as the Rebels took down the Fredericktown Black Cats 39-36 while Dexter rolled to a 49-28 win over St. Genevieve. Both teams now stand at 7-4.
Entering sectionals Park Hills Central enters uncharted territory as their win over the Blackcats marked the first playoff win in school history.
To earn that win, the Rebels were forced to mount a 15-point fourth quarter comeback that saw Park Hills Central intercept a pass and retrieve an onside kick to mount each scoring drive respectively. Coming into the frame, the Rebels had been down by 12.
Play will kickoff Monday at 7 p.m. with Park Hills Central hosting.