(Photo by Brent Shipman, Staff)
SIKESTON -- The Sikeston Bulldogs continued their impressive start to the season on Monday as they shutout the visiting Farmington Knights 2-0 for their eighth win of the season.
"This is the best start we've ever had and we keep going," Sikeston coach Doyle Noe said. "This is five in-a-row for us and six of the last seven. I think we were down a little bit tonight, but I think that had to do with Farmington.
"They're really good team and I was proud of my boys for staying in there when they were playing so well."
After battling through nearly 30 scoreless minutes, the Bulldogs were able to build some momentum going into halftime when Josh Bill scored what ended up being the game-winning goal with 11:50 left before the break.
Taking a pass from the right side of the field from Tyler Neal, Bill sprinted up near the left goal post before heading a shot between the pipes to give Sikeston a 1-0 advantage.
"Taz made a great run down the side and cut it baseline," Bill said, referring to Tyler Neal. "He had an amazing cross, it was prefect. I saw it floating all the way to my head and knew what to do with it to put it away."
Coming out in the second half, Farmington came close to scoring on several near misses midway through the half.
With their defense holding strong, however, the Bulldogs where essentially able to ice the game when Hunter Williams found the net on a shot just outside of the box near center net with 5:50 to play.
"It was a great counter attack," Noe said of the play. "You saw Tyler (McClinton) make kind of a slant run to the corner to keep the ball alive. He made a great ball to Hunter and Hunter's a great finisher and a great player. He put that inside of the goal and that was huge.
"Making it 2-0 with less than seven minutes left took a lot of pressure off us. We could breathe a little more and think it definitely deflated Farmington. I think you could see their play go down a little bit."
Added Bill, "That was great. I love put away goals. It makes it a whole lot easier on the defense to play calmly and make good decisions."
Despite being shutout, the Knight (5-4) actually outshot the Bulldogs on the contest 11-9. Leading the way for Sikeston was Bill who had four shots on goal.
"I thought we had a lot of possessions," Farmington coach Rusty Sancegraw said. "We just didn't finish our chances when we needed to and that's the way the game goes."
Earlier in the night, the Sikeston junior varsity squad was able to pull off an exciting win over Farmington's junior varsity team.
Tied 1-1 late in the game, Layton Jones came through with the game-winning goal for the Bulldogs with under a minute left as Sikeston held on for a 2-1 win. Scoring the Bulldogs first goal was Hunter Taylor.
Looking to stretch their winning streak to six, the varsity Bulldogs (8-3) will host the Jackson Indians tomorrow directly after the junior varsity game, which starts at 6 p.m.
"We have one of biggest test of the season tomorrow against Jackson," Noe said. "So we're going to come ready to play and just see if we can do something tomorrow."