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Sikeston tames Tigers in 1-0 battle

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

(Photo)
Sikeston captain Chase Baron (right) celebrates with Adam Johnson (23) after Johnson scored a goal in the first half against Cape Central Tuesday at the Sikeston Sports Complex. Chris Pobst, Staff
SIKESTON -- An open net can sometimes be the scariest thing.

With nothing in front of you but a goal and opportunity, tremendous pressure can sometimes lead to a botched shot.

With all the commotion surrounding his situation, Sikeston's Adam Johnson wasn't so sure he connected with his shot.

Thankfully for the Sikeston Bulldogs, Johnson was right on the money.

"I thought I missed the ball at first," Johnson admitted. "I realized it went into the net and it was kind of an adrenaline rush after that."

Johnson's open net goal proved to be the game winner in the first half against visiting Cape Central Tuesday at the Sikeston Sports Complex where the Bulldogs won 1-0.

"He's been stepping up a lot and been awesome," Sikeston captain Chase Baron said about Johnson. "He's been our main goal scorer.

"He needs to keep it up," Baron said loud enough for Johnson to hear.

Throughout the first 18 minutes, Sikeston had to contend with Cape Central's dominating way of possession. Just twice before Johnson's goal, Sikeston did everything they could to get the ball past midfield. If they succeeded, it didn't take long for Cape Central to regain occupancy of the ball.

"We had to get used to the way they played at first," Baron said. "After that, we learned how they want to play and then started playing the way we want to."

Tyler McClinton, a speedy forward for the Bulldogs, finally broke free down field and headed straight for Cape Central's goal with just one defender trailing him.

Tiger keeper Austin Bagley came away from the net to try and thwart McClinton's advances and did so to a certain extent.

McClinton had the presence of mind to flip the ball over a diving Bagley directly in front of Johnson who was following the play from the left side.

"Those two guys have played together for a long time," Sikeston head coach Doyle Noe said. "The keeper came out to challenge Tyler and he was able to flick it over the keeper and Adam ran with him and he was there to hammer it in for the goal.

"It was a great play by both of them. When they're going on all cylinders they are tough to stop."

Both teams matched each other shot for shot with 13 on the game. Johnson was 1 of 3 on shot opportunities.

"We just didn't capitalize on our chances," Cape Central Dan Martin said. "They capitalized on their chance and that's the difference in the game sometimes. It was good back and forth."

Sikeston, who is known for being a very aggressive team, was given a challenge when it came to physicality.

With a lot of body contact and hands flying around early in the game, three yellow cards were dished out in the first 20 minutes of the game.

"We try to keep it under control but we're a very physical team," Noe said. "We're not afraid to put a body on somebody. When they answer with the same type of game, I think that fires us up a little bit and we rise to the challenge. Our boys didn't back down and they played hard."

Defensively, Sikeston (5-3) was top-notch.

Once sequence in the second half turned out to be Cape Central's best chance to tie the game, but the Bulldogs didn't allow it.

The Tigers received a corner kick that was kicked perfectly inside the center of the box. After an initial stop, the ball continued to bounce around Sikeston's net and around the feet of Cape Central players.

Time and time again, Sikeston came up with stops, saves and finally cleared the ball away to a raucous ovation from the Sikeston fans.

"When the ball is back on your end for a long time, bad things are going to happen," Noe said. "When that happens, it's basically who wants it more?

"Our guys hustled to the ball, kept their feet moving and didn't stop and stand. There were two or three great saves there."

Paul Hughes headed the ball away from the net twice, Josh Hampton shielded the net another two times and the Bulldogs were finally able to clear the ball without harm being done.

"When they didn't get a goal there I think their momentum went down. They had some great chances, but the defense wasn't going to let them score in that situation."

Hampton ended up with five saves on the game while recording the shutout.

Sikeston will host Notre Dame Thursday at the Sikeston Sports Complex with the junior varsity starting at 5:30 p.m.

Junior varsity

The Sikeston junior varsity also defeated Cape Central 2-1.

Hunter Taylor scored both of the Bulldogs' goals in the first half with assists from Chase Gaines and Layton Jones.

Goalie Gabe Wheeler came up with a game-saving penalty kick save in the second half to help preserve the win.