Sikeston tries to get back on track at New Madrid
Andrew Powell ~ Standard Democrat
NEW MADRID - The Sikeston Bulldogs (2-3) will be back in action Friday night as they head on the road for another tough test with the New Madrid Country Central Eagles (4-1).
Sikeston suffered their third straight loss of the season last week at the hands of a prolific state ranked opponent in the Farmington Knights. On the other side of the ball, NMCC has won their previous two matchups. Last week the Eagles managed to put up 54 points against the Caruthersville Tigers with over 600 yards of total offense. The Bulldogs have found themselves on the other end of the scoring spectrum however, as they failed to score in their third straight outing.
"We have got to manage to get on the scoreboard this week," said Sikeston head coach Kent Gibbs. "In order to have success, at some point you have to put numbers on the board. Hopefully this week we will be able to move the ball down the field and do just that."
"We've had a real good week of practice this week," said NMCC head coach Arlen Pixley. "We are a little banged up after our first five weeks of play. This week, we just tried to get guys healed up as we try to continue to get better."
On offense, the Eagles will look to set up in the I, pair, and various shotgun formations. They have two explosive backs in Bryan Waters and Lennies McFerren, both downhill runners with breakaway speed. NMCC also won't hesitate to try shots down the field as they will look to get an easy six on the deep pass.
Sikeston will once again look for control from the pocket with Charlie Bohannon who has 344 passing yards this season. Out of the shotgun he will look to hit his favorite receivers in Brandon Wright and Josh Pierce who have totaled226 receiving yards on 10 catches this season. On the ground Jarian Wims, who has 206 yards on 28 carries, will look to find the holes as he will carry for much of rushing load for the Bulldogs.
On the defensive side of the ball NMCC will give Sikeston many different looks as they will run 4-4, 6-2, and 5-3 fronts, running man coverage on each of them. They will look to stop the Bulldogs running game as they like to crowd the box and shoot for opening gaps.
Sikeston will look to contain NMCC's running attack with their five linebacker set while the defensive line will look to work its way in, collapsing the pocket. The Bulldogs will look to get pressure on the quarterback behind defensive tackle Robert Madison, who leads the team with five sacks on the season, while Chase Ferrell, who has three interceptions on the season, will look to gain a few more after reeling in two during last weeks game.
"We looked real crisp in practice this week." said Gibbs, "Nobody seems to be hung up on how things have played out for us during our last few games. New Madrid has two great backs in Waters and McFerren and we look up to the challenge of containing them."
NMCC's Rusty Clark is questionable in his start against the Bulldogs. This DB, who minimizes the deep ball threat, may see some action depending on his strained right ankle.
Sikeston's Gavilan Bland is out for the week due to a slight concussion he received against Farmington last week. He is also questionable in the next week match against Kennett depending on a Monday evaluation. Bland is Sikeston's leading rusher with 387 yards and six touchdowns on offense and also leads the team with 39 tackles on defense.
DeAdrean Grissom will look to step up and fill in the position at linebacker on defense as Dwayne Harris will fill in as the tailback for the Sikeston offense.
"New Madrid is a very talented ball club with great team speed," said Gibbs. "Our defense has played well and our special teams continue to get better every week. As long as we can get some production on offense we've got a good chance to come out with a victory in this one."
"I expect a very tough match up this week." said Pixley. "Sikeston has played three very good opponents and coming in they're are expecting to play at that level, so I expect them to play our butts off.
"However, if we protect the ball, limit turnovers, tackle well, and contain their quarterback bootlegs then we should have a good game in this one."
Opening kickoff for the Sikeston and NMCC match-up will be 7 p.m.