Sikeston takes OC to other extreme

Sikeston takes OC to other extreme
Sikeston takes OC to other extreme

Obion Central’s Mason McGrew looks for running room outside against Sikeston.
Obion Central’s choice of opponents went from one extreme to the other.
Unfortunately, so, too, did the Rebels’ results.
Missouri 4A power Sikeston marched up and down the field to the tune of 563 total yards and scored on six of its first seven possessions to hand Central a 42-34 setback Friday night in Troy.
The non-district loss — on the heels of OC’s 35-6 season-opening victory over outmanned Fulton County in a game that was mercifully called in less than two quarters of play due to lightning — evened the Rebs’ record at 1-1.
The visiting Bulldogs, who were playing their first game of the season, were obviously much more of a formidable foe for Obion Central than FC was in Week 0.
James Watson ran for 125 yards and three touchdowns, Darryl Howard had 116 and a score, and two more players (Kyland Gross and Trey Lewis) threatened the 100-yard rushing mark for Sikeston, which was ranked eighth in the Missouri state preseason poll after a school-best 13-1 record and semifinal appearance last year.
The Rebels fought gamely, but never led and were ultimately undone by a pair of turnovers and a huge touchdown scored just before the half by the visitors.
The loss overshadowed a 336-yard, four-touchdown passing effort by OC junior quarterback Trey Phipps, who hooked up with Mason McGrew for three of those scores.
The decided difference in caliber of opponents for Obion Central was by design, according to head coach Shawn Jackson.
“I wanted to see where we stood before we played Crockett County,” the Rebel skipper said, alluding to this week’s District 13AA opener vs. the perennially-strong Cavaliers. “We didn’t get a lot out of last week against Fulton County, and I firmly believe you get better by playing better folks.
“We got beat tonight by an outstanding football team and one that’s well-coached and has good schemes. This will help us both in preparation for Crockett County and in the long run.”
Sikeston averaged 7.6 yards on its 56 rushes — often times ripping off big chunks of real estate on the flanks against a Rebel defense that was also guilty of sloppy tackling in Friday’s contest.
While both Watson and Howard repeatedly broke free on the edges, quarterback Trey Watson — a state track champion in the long jump last spring — was a dual threat with 81 yards rushing and another 133 throwing.
“These aren’t the only fast kids we’re going to play and we have to learn how to defend speed better,” Jackson continued. “We didn’t have any film on them, and they did some things that we hadn’t prepared for. Teams that spread us out give us trouble, but I was most disturbed not with the high yardage totals, but with our tackling.
“It was not acceptable.”
Down 42-20 early in the fourth quarter, OC mounted a spirited comeback with a the last two Phipps-to-McGrew TD tosses that covered eight and 27 yards, respectively.
The Rebels’ rally hopes essentially ended, however, when Sikeston recovered an onside kick with a little more than three minutes to play and never surrendered possession while clinging to an eight-point lead.
“We kept fighting and digging, but the touchdown right there before the half really killed us,” Jackson said, alluding to a 64-yard burst by Kyland Gross with four seconds left when the Bulldogs were basically just trying to run out the clock.
“The two turnovers (one interception, one lost fumble), they got points out of those, too, and put us behind the eight-ball. We couldn’t get off the field defensively, and we didn’t force any turnovers.”
Central’s 416-yard offensive output was obviously pass-heavy and was spread to a handful of other receivers in addition to McGrew.
Nathan Ward and Shawn Weaks both had six grabs, Ward’s catches going for a game-high 102 yards. Weaks, who was on the receiving end of Phipps first scoring toss — an eight-yarder on a screen play — broke tackles on several of his receptions with physical runs and also completed a 41-yard aerial to Ward on a double pass that set up LaDevin Fair’s one-yard TD plunge.
Both McGrew (73 yards) and Cary (68 yards) had five catches apiece.
The OC coach said his team — which had just two rushes the entire second half while playing catch-up — must have more balance between the pass and run in the future.
Fair, who did have three receptions for 68 yards, was limited to just 26 yards running on 11 attempts.
“They cut the head off our running game and really just made us one-dimensional. We can’t allow that to happen and expect to win,” Jackson concluded.
Defensively, Steven Patton was one of the few Rebels to shine on that side of the ball, recording 12 tackles.
Joe Ferguson also delivered a couple of big hits and finished with 11 stops in all.
Both Josh Quinton and Tanner Miller had 10 takedowns for Central.
OC will celebrate homecoming Friday against Crockett County.
Sports editor Mike Hutchens can be contacted by e-mail at mhutch@ucmessenger.com.
 

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