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Friday, July 25, 2014

'Measuring stick'

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Bulldogs ready to take on experienced Bearcats

sports@standard-democrat.com

DEXTER -- After two weeks and a 1-1 record, Sikeston head coach Kent Gibbs is looking at Week 3 to see just where his Bulldogs are at.

Sikeston will travel to Dexter on Friday night to take on the Bearcats, who are continuing to ride their post season hot streak from a season ago.

"It'll be a big measuring stick for us," Gibbs said. "We think Dexter is one of the quality football teams in southeast Missouri and we just have to be ready to go."

Although the Bulldogs have owned Dexter in their previous two meetings, Sikeston is bringing newer faces to the field while the Bearcats have nearly their same roster.

Namely, quarterback Cody Stevens.

Stevens tossed four touchdown passes, including three to fellow senior Tyler Miller against a possible Class 3 playoff contender in Park Hills Central last week while totaling 132 yards on 12 of 30 passing. He also ran for 64 yards on 10 carries and a touchdown.

Stevens has totaled 221 yards passing and 116 rushing so far this season.

"(Stevens) is really a good football player and he's got some role players that will work for him," said Gibbs. "We can't let him get out and let him get on the edge. He likes to do that and hit his sprints and comebacks.

"He's their trigger guy, just like we've had trigger guys in the past. He's the one that makes it go. First off, he's really tough and really smart and makes good decisions. No doubt about it, he's their leader."

Stevens' favorite target recently has been Tyler Miller. The Dexter wide receiver has caught 11 passes for 122 yards -- which includes seven catches for 78 yards just last week against Park Hills.

Although they have to watch what Stevens does closely, the Bearcats most effective runner has been Josh Overall.

Overall has averaged 123 yards rushing so far to go along with three touchdown runs.

"You can't fall asleep," Gibbs said. "They have a couple of running backs that may not be fast, but they really get in there and mix it up. They're a little bit more diversified on offense. They really give you a lot of different looks.

"We expect to play a lot of people in the box and stop the run game and we're going to have to be able to deal with that."

Last year's contest was highlighted by a career game from Sikeston quarterback Trey Lewis.

Lewis, 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.

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.

Stevens was 6 for 18 passing for 63 yards and three interceptions in that contest as well. 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.

"They're a good, solid football team," Gibbs said. "They're big. We expect a lot of pressure and a tough, physical game because that's the kind of thing they're known for."

The Bulldogs are coming off of a solid 43-14 win over their rival the Charleston Bluejays.

After a somewhat shocking scoreless first quarter, the Bulldogs blew the doors wide open scoring 29 points in the second quarter as their defense led the way.

Junior Kyland Gross put an exclamation point on the first half by scoring on a 66-yard interception return as time expired in the second quarter.

"Every game on our schedule we're going to take one at a time and try and get better every week," said Gibbs. "The Charleston game played out about how we thought it would. It was a tough ball game and we were able to make some defensive plays that opened it up a bit.

"We certainly got a little bit better and we think we got better this week."

Gross and James Watson have led the Bulldogs on offense so far this season.

Gross has carried the ball 17 times and rushed for 185 yards. Watson has a total of 245 yards on 31 carries.

"They are a very good football team again," said Dexter coach Aaron Pixley. "Probably, if not the fastest team around, one of the top two around. They are really good. They rally to the ball on defense. They have good athletes that carry the ball and the quarterback is a good athlete and throws a good football and they catch it."

Pixley said he expects the Bulldogs to stay with their ground game on Friday.

"They are going to look to run the football," Pixley said. "They will spread you out some. And they run some misdirection. They run a spin offense over there. They are going to try and get you going one way and run back to the other. And anytime you have speed like that it works."

Sikeston has battled consistency throughout their lineup -- especially at the quarterback position.

Both David Foster and Gross were seen taking snaps throughout practice all week. Their trend of having two quarterbacks looks to continuing.

"We look at a lot of positions on our team right now," said Gibbs. "We just have a lot of competition. We'll play the ones that had a good week of practice and we think can do the things for us whether its on defense or offense.

"I imagine for a while you'll see a lot of different kids in different positions. We moved some kids this week and we'll continue to analyze and move kids where we think we need to move them."

"To be honest about it, it's not anything we haven't expected losing the guys that we've lost. It's going to take some time. We feel good about where we're headed if we just keep moving that way."