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Dexter looks to improve playoff position against NMCC

Thursday, September 27, 2012

JERRY JARRELL-jjarrell@dailystatesman.com Dexter senior Ryan Joyner leaps over a pile of downed players on his way to the season's first 100-yard rushing performance by a Bearcat this season. Joyner carried the ball 19 times for 135 yards and one touchdowns in a win over Kennett Friday. Joyner will be on the New Madrid County Central's defensive radar when the 'Cats travel south this Friday for a conference and district clash with the Eagles.
A recent forum question on SEMOball.com regarding high school football predictions for week 6 asked about the Bearcats and Eagles game Friday night at New Madrid County Central

One blogger answered, "Pixley in a tight one."

For those of you not close to high school football, the clever answer was directed at the fact that a Pixley will be coaching on each sideline, Aaron for Dexter and Arlen for NMCC.

While the comment was very witty and humorous, the part about it being a "tight one" could prove to be dead on.

Dexter and NMCC find themselves in similar positions starting the second half of the season. Both schools support 1-4 records as they enter the critical game that will affect both the standings in the SEMO Central Conference and in Class 3, District 1 play.

Currently Dexter holds a slight points lead over NMCC (26.90 to 23.70) for fifth place in the new MSHSAA playoff system. One goal of every team in the new playoff format is to try and finish in the top four so they can host a first-round playoff game in Week 10.

There are numerous similarities between Dexter and NMCC at this point in the season. Both teams have struggled to find offense, each averaging just 12.2 points per game, while Dexter's defense has allowed 28.8 points per game and NMCC 21.2.

Dexter is coming off its best offensive output of the season in its lone win against Kennett (26-7), but the Eagles also had their best offensive showing against the porous Indians defense in their only win of the season, a 31-7 decision in Week 3.

Both school's will have one remaining game against a district opponent after Friday night. In Week 8, Dexter will have Park Hills Central at home while NMCC will be on the road against Fredericktown.

NMCC's defense has shown improvement since a season-opening 32-6 loss to Malden. The Eagles' did a good job of holding down Sikeston in a 12-0 loss in Week 2 before giving up just 7 points to Kennett in Week 3. An improved Charleston team could only muster up 14 points against the Eagles, but it was enough for a 14-10 win.

Both NMCC and Dexter were torched by Caruthersville, the Eagles dropping a 41-14 decision to the Tigers last week, while Dexter fell to the state-ranked team, 35-7 in Week 4.

While both teams are similar statistically, that about as far as the comparison goes.

Arlen Pixley's Eagles rely on speed and athleticism. Getting players in space where they can make plays.

NMCC quarterback Jashawn McDaniel missed the last game, and was replaced with Austin Lynn, who rushed for one TD and threw for 114 yards and another score against Caruthersville.

The Eagles have numerous running backs that are capable of breaking a long run at any time, while wide receiver Devon Harrell has been the primary target of both McDaniel and Lynn.

Dexter on the other hand must play a methodical and disciplined style of football. The Bearcats have big play potential with wide receiver Chase Young, but they like to control the ball with time-consuming drives.

Kickoff is set for 7 p.m.

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