Central, Sikeston hold rematch in Class 4 sectional
Monday, November 8, 2010 ~ Updated 12:10 AM
Central senior Keilon Moore can't wait for the opportunity to prove Week 9 was an aberration.
The Tigers' leading rusher only managed 3 yards on six attempts the last time Central faced Sikeston.
"I think it means something to my team that I get out there and prove that I can run the ball and do what they need me to do," Moore said.
Moore will get a second chance against Sikeston's stalwart defense when the Tigers and Bulldogs face off in tonight's Class 4 sectional playoff game. Kickoff is scheduled for 7 p.m. in Sikeston, Mo.
"It's kind of like redemption," Moore said. "That's what I'm worried about because I know we could have played a better game and we didn't. Then we watched film and we saw what we messed up on and we're going to come out and try to keep mistakes at a minimum, especially playing against a good team like that."
Sikeston (11-0) defeated Central 21-0 in a Class 4 District 1 contest in Week 9, and the Tigers (10-1) have yearned for another shot at the Bulldogs since Sikeston handed them their only loss of the season.
"It's very exciting because you never know if you're going to get a second shot at a team that beat you, especially your first lost," Central senior lineman Chris Bird said. "It's exciting because we know what we did wrong and we're ready to execute on the next game and see what happens, see what the outcome is."
The Bulldogs' defense bottled up Central's offense, limiting it to 95 yards on 40 plays.
"When we review the film from the Sikeston game, and taking nothing away from Sikeston -- they played a heck of a game defensively -- we did not execute very well offensively," Central coach Rich Payne said. "I think we can execute better and we've added a few wrinkles that may slow them down a little bit with the way they played us and reacted to us last time."
Central's rushing attack, which averages 324 yards per game, only gained 76 yards against Sikeston. Central's longest gain against Sikeston was a 33-yard run by Deonte Jenkins, who will miss the game with an ACL injury. The Tigers only had three other plays that gained 10 or more yards, and they lost yards or were held to no gain on 15 of their 30 rushing plays.
"Know our assignments and execute our assignments," Bird said about today's game plan. "Play hard the whole game. We know it's going to be a tough game, especially playing at Sikeston. We're going to have to execute and play hard and hopefully the outcome comes out like we want it to."
Central knows it must worry about more than just its offense. Sikeston features an explosive offense that averages 46.1 points per game. Senior quarterback Trey Lewis directs the attack. He's thrown for 1,347 yards and 12 touchdowns while rushing for 1,081 and 18 scores. He hurt the Tigers in their first meeting by rushing for 135 yards and two scores, while passing for another 105 yards.
"We're more worried about getting out there and handling business," Moore said about stopping Lewis. "He's not a one-man team. You've got to stop everybody."
Darryl Howard leads the Bulldogs' rushing attack with 1,290 yards and 15 touchdowns. He gained 128 yards and scored once in the first meeting.
"I would say if we can hold Sikeston to 21 points again, we would be fortunate," Payne said. "We are the only ballclub that Sikeston has played that has held Sikeston to 21 points. We're the only team that's held them to zero points in a half. I think our defensive effort, with the exception of the first series and the long pass, was pretty good. It's got to be that good or better this next week or they'll be putting points up on the board like a ticker tape."
Moore leads the Tigers with 1,186 yards and 17 scores, while James Poindexter has gained 886 yards on the ground.
"I'm going to play the game fearless," Moore said. "I'm not going to worry about getting hurt, nothing. Just playing for my team and putting it all out there on the field."
Tigers quarterback Christian Cavaness also will be out to prove the first game against Sikeston was a fluke. He only completed four passes for 19 yards. He's thrown for 844 yards and 15 of his 49 completions have gone for touchdowns.
Another capacity crowd is expected for tonight's game. The first meeting drew an estimated crowd that exceeded 11,000.
"We just stay focused because we know this is a big game," Bird said. "We know the hype of the game. We just know we have to stay focused because you don't want to get too excited and over do anything."