(Photo by David Jenkins, Staff)
CHARLESTON -- Both the Sikeston Bulldogs and the Charleston Bluejays are coming off of rare occurrences from their Week 1 games.
The Bulldogs will go without a perfect regular season for the first time since 2008 after losing 34-14 to Gateway Tech while Charleston won their first game since 2009 during their dramatic come from behind victory over the Kennett Indians.
The Bluejays are riding high. The Bulldogs are back to work.
They will both meet for the 126th time in their illustrious series as they continue one of the oldest rivalries west of the Mississippi River at Charleston High School on Friday at 7 p.m.
"We kind of got woke up about some things," Sikeston coach Kent Gibbs said. "We've made some adjustments in what we're doing in practice and we're trying to do a little better.
"I think what some people have to understand is that the first game is not the season. We've got nine more. We'll see this week if we've gotten any better and hopefully we'll continue to get better."
"The kids were excited,"Charleston coach Brett Blackman said. "The way that we done it too was exciting. We had to come back and win it. I felt we played pretty well defensively and we were able to put some things together offensively. We weren't able to do that last year.
"To come back and win in the final minutes of the ball game and holding down one of the better quarterbacks in southeast Missouri the way we did, I thought we did pretty well."
Charleston beat the Kennett Indians 27-22, after clawing back from a 22-21 deficit with less than two minutes to do it. A 1-yard run by Rontavious Clark gave the Bluejays a much coveted win.
"I'm pretty happy with some of the things that fell into place and we were able to come away out of that game with," Blackman said.
Sikeston, however, watched as a 14-0 lead slipped right out from under them.
Gateway Tech, behind the play of quarterback Paul Rice, scored 34 unanswered points in the last three quarters to hand Sikeston a surprising first week loss.
"We've got a lot of maturing to do, really, all across the board," Gibbs said. "It's going to take a little bit of time whether it's our mental preparation, how we practice or our work ethic.
"We were obviously ready to go and ready to play, but, we ran out of gas. We've worked on that this week and will continue to work on that."
Going into their respective Week 2 game, both teams are putting last week's games behind them.
"We're going to have to be ready to go from the first whistle," Gibbs said. "We're a little beat up and missing some kids but, if we're not ready to go they can certainly beat us. Hopefully, we will realize the magnitude of the game and do what we need to do the best we can."
"We handle each week game to game and team to team," Blackman said. "Sikeston's No. 2 on our schedule and we go from there. We want to try and go into that game and try and play with them -- do the things that we do best."
"We've got to come to the ball game ready to play. We just can't survive. I think our kids are working towards a win."
Last season, the Bulldogs upended Charleston 51-6. Sikeston has won their last five meetings.
"Sikeston's the team to beat," said Blackman. "When they're on top like that, it's for a reason because of the games that they've won, how hard their kids work and how hard their coaches work. We want to try and imitate successful programs and we want to be there someday.
"We try to do some things in our way, to imitate what they do. We try to work hard in the weight room, in practice and as a coaching staff. We try and model ourselves after successful programs."
The Bulldogs will be without quarterback Drew Harper, who is no longer with the team. Harper was one of three quarterbacks Sikeston used during their contest against Gateway.
When asked how they are dealing with one less signal caller, Gibbs said, "We're just practicing."
Although they are feeling pretty good about their first week win, Blackman knows the challenge that's ahead of them and knows what needs to happen if they were to celebrate their second-straight win.
"The things we have to do is control the ball offensively," Blackman said. "We put some drives together that burned out some clock (against Kennett). Our drives can't stall and we have to put points on the board.
"We've got to stop their big plays."
Sikeston leads the series history, 87-38.