(Photo by Chris Pobst, Staff)
ST. LOUIS -- After two seasons of being just one game away from playing at the Edward Jones Dome, the Sikeston Bulldogs will finally get their chance to play on the turf.
As part of the Great American Football Classic series, Sikeston will take its regularly scheduled Week 4 game against the Farmington Knights to 'The Dome' in St. Louis, Saturday, Sept. 15.
"This is a great thing for our kids and our program," Sikeston head coach Kent Gibbs said. "We've played in a lot of big football games around here over the last couple of years and we hope this will rank right up there."
The Great American Football Classic began in St. Louis just last season. It is a four-game event that showcases some of the state's top football programs.
"I think this is a great opportunity for our program," Sikeston athletic director Andy McGill said. "Our band, cheerleaders, student body and fans on both sides will have the opportunity to be a part of a unique thing."
The Bulldogs have been one game shy of reaching the Class 4 state championship game, which is played at the Edward Jones Dome, twice in the last three years.
In 2009, Sikeston's chances were dashed by Helias in the semifinals. And in 2010, they were thwarted by Warrenton, 28-21, in a disheartening come from behind win by the Warriors.
In each of those two years, Sikeston finished with a final record of 13-1.
"We always talk about our goals for the season and it's always to get into the playoffs, try to make a deep run and see what happens," said Gibbs. "You never know, this may be one of two games we end up playing up there."
The Bulldogs and Farmington have been district rivals for the past four years as well.
In their last four meetings, the two schools are tied with a 2-2 record. Farmington holds the last win, however, defeating Sikeston 55-21 just last season to take the district crown away from the Bulldogs.
"If you put our two programs together -- two schools that have represented this side of the state's semifinals for the last three years and two communities that will bring good crowds and support their football teams -- we should bring a good atmosphere," Gibbs said about the two programs.
"For us, we weren't very competitive last year during the Farmington game so hopefully we can use 'The Dome' for a little extra motivation and play a little bit better against them this year."
Farmington's athletic director, Pat Burns, as well as Sikeston's former athletic director, Brent Keefer, were essential in putting the pieces together to make their dome game a reality.
Saturday will feature four games beginning at 11 a.m. when Waterloo contends against Triad.
At 1:45 p.m., Sikeston will take on Farmington, which will be followed by Kirkwood v. Rockwood Summit at 4:30 p.m. Oakville and Eureka play the night cap at 7:15 p.m.
The doors will open at 10:30 a.m. for fans. The cost of advance student and adult tickets will be $11, which are available for sale through one of the participating high schools. Children five-years old & younger will be admitted free. Look for advanced ticket sales to begin around the first home football game through Sikeston High School.
"This is another positive for our kids," Gibbs said. "They're excited about it. It's a little bit down the road, but it's neat to talk about it and see what it might be like. I'm sure most of them have never been to the Edward Jones Dome.
Walk-Up Tickets may be purchased for $15 through the Edward Jones Dome ticket office and Ticketmaster in advance or on game day. All tickets are general admission with designated areas for schools identified through signage at the Edward Jones Dome.
"We're going to need a lot of help from the community as far as selling tickets and supporting us while we're up there," Gibbs said. "There was a little bit of hesitation to put this together because of the ticket sales and if we could produce enough of them. Hopefully, the fans will come out and support us in a big way."
Event organizer's will be working with local youth football teams, offering an $8 ticket to youth football players which include junior and middle school age and under. These players will be permitted on the field of the Edward Jones Dome prior to their school's game. They will form a tunnel used for team introductions. Youth cheerleaders may also participate at the same rate.