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Friday, Dec. 19, 2014

Tigers derail Sikeston's promising playoff run

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

(Photo)
Sikeston head coach Doyle Noe (kneeling) talks to his team during the Class 2, District 1 semifinal against Cape Central Tuesday at Farmington High School. Cape Central defeated Sikeston 1-0 to end the Bulldogs' season. Brent Shipman, Staff
FARMINGTON -- Looking for a season sweep of Cape Central in the Class 2, District 1 tournament semifinals on Tuesday, the Sikeston Bulldogs' defense suffered a breakdown when they could least afford it.

Just over two minutes from forcing a second overtime, the Bulldogs saw a quick goal from Tigers' senior Nicholas Barnes put an end to their season in a 1-0 overtime loss.

"We knew it was going to be very difficult to beat Cape," Sikeston head coach Doyle Noe said. "We beat them twice this year, but they were very close games and both of them could have gone either way just like tonight. So it was a toss up.

"If we played a few more times they may beat us or we may get them, but they got us tonight in the one that really counted at the end."

With the final minutes winding down in the extra frame and neither team able to get a clear shot, it looked as if the two squads would settled things on penalty kicks for the second time this season.

With just under three minutes to play, however, Cape Central got the ball out of bounds near the net on the right side of the field with the chance for a throw-in.

Taking the ball out of bounds, senior Tyler Anderson sent his long throw in front of the net where it was kicked around before Sikeston looked like it would get the chance to clear the ball.

Unfortunately for the Bulldogs, their attempts to kick the ball out of the box and toward their forwards were knocked down by Cape Central defenders who kept the ball in play near the net.

After some fighting for the ball in front of a crowded net, Barnes got control and sent a soft-rolling shot from near the top of the box to the left corner of the net. The shot was just outside the diving reach of a Sikeston goalkeeper Josh Hampton, who saw the ball trickle in with 2:11 left in overtime.

"That's how they scored on us the first time we played," Noe said of the goal. "It wasn't for a lack of effort, we just failed to clear a ball. They kept it in and once that happens there's a ton of traffic in front of the net.

"The kid put a good shot in the corner. That's the only place Josh (Hampton) wasn't going to get that ball. It was a great shot by him."

On his senior's game-winning shot, Cape Central head coach Dan Martin added, "They had their chances with it bouncing around the box and so did we. We were just fortunate to get on top of one. Sikeston is a good team."

Sikeston had a few opportunities of their own to close out the game once it reached overtime. Unfortunately for the Bulldogs, Cape Central goalkeeper Austin Bagley had a stellar night, making seven saves on the contest.

"We had a couple of good chances," Noe said. "Brandon (Goodwin) and Adam (Johnson) both had shots from seven or eight yards in traffic. They put good shots on goal, not great shots, but ones that are going to beat a lot of keepers.

"But the kid from Cape is a really good goalie and he made some great saves to keep them in it."

With the win, the Tigers (13-9) move on to face Perryville in the championship game Thursday at 6 p.m. in Farmington.

Though they were unable to defend last year's district title, Sikeston finished the season one win shy of the school record set last year when they went 20-5 on a push to the Class 2 quarterfinals. They also claimed their first-ever SEMO Conference title while Hampton set a new school record for shutouts with 14.

"It's was a great season," Noe said. "It stings right now, obviously, but we did have a great year. Last year I think our district wasn't as strong as it is this year. I think we're the same team we were last year, we were just fortunate enough to play Fredericktown (in an 8-0 semifinal win) and then beat Perryville.

"This year our district is probably the toughest one from top to bottom in the state. So I knew going in (against Cape Central) that the game was going to be a toss up."