Dexter will be looking to snap a 3-game losing streak on the road tonight when they travel south to Malden for a clash with the Green Wave.
Malden has put together an impressive 6-2 season record and the Green Wave will be looking to exploit Dexter's porous run defense with their high octane ground game.
"They are a very good team," Dexter coach Aaron Pixley said. "A very skilled team. They are big up front and active up front on both sides of the ball. We knew they would be good this year. They have a lot of kids back and then they got some good younger kids they've mixed in there that are very talented. They are well coached. It is going to be a tough game for us as every Friday night is.
"It's a test for us every Friday night," Pixley continued. "We knew that every team we played this year was going to be better than they were last year coming in and it's no surprise to us that they (Malden) are a very good football team."
Pixley says the Green Wave have an abundance of talented athletes, but two names seem to garner the most attention.
Malden is led by the area's leading rusher in Romello McCoy, who has churned out 1,585 yards on the ground and scored 23 touchdowns. The 5'9" 170-LB. senior will be looking to add to Dexter 27.6 points per game allowed. He has routinely rushed for over 200 yards a game this season.
"They have one of the fastest kids in Southeast Missouri and maybe the leading rusher in Southeast Missouri in the McCoy kid," Pixley noted. "He's excellent. But there are other backs that are very good to. He's been good for them the past few years."
The Green Wave are also led by Riley Chapen, a promising freshman quarterbac.
"He's a big kid (6'3", 185)," Pixley said of Chapen. "He throws the ball pretty well. He does a really good job of managing the offense and getting the ball into his play makers' hands. There is a lot to be said about a quarterback that can get the ball to his play makers. And that's what he does. He's a pretty talented kid. He's a good player now, but he going to be really good."
Chapen has attempted 99 passes and completed 45 for 663 yards, six touchdowns and nine interceptions.
"They are going to try and establish the run," Pixley said of Malden's offense. "They can throw the football and they will throw the football but they are going to run the football and they are very good at it.
"The have a lot of speed and misdirection," he added. "They run a lot of different formations. They will go from double tight (ends)), three in the backfield, to the spread from sideline to sideline. Any time you get that speed in space it's tough to stop."
While trying to stop the Green Wave's ground attack will be difficult, scoring against their defense will prove equally tough.
Dexter is only averaging 11 points per game this season and the 'Cats have only scored over 14 points once. Last week the Bearcats gave up over 400 yards on the ground to Park Hills. The Green Wave scored 67 points against Kennett last week and charted 323 yards on the ground.
"Very active," Pixley said when asked about the Green Wave defense. "They give you multiple looks on defense. Very active up front. Very good defensive linemen. Active linebackers that get down hill and blitz. Basically the same athletes (as on offense), they just flip them.
"They are very good defensively," he noted. "They create a lot of problems for you up front and that is why you have to get off the ball fast and stay low and drive in the run game. Keep your feet going the whole time in the run game and pass game. If not, they are going to get to the quarterback and running back in the backfield and it is going to be a long night."
Dexter is working on its worst season ever under Pixley with a 1-7 record. But that doesn't mean the 'Cats are throwing in the towel just yet.
"I am constantly yelling it's not over until its over," Pixley said. "We're not going to cut back on practice. We're going to practice every day and work hard every day. We're going to do our group work. We're going to do the fundamental work, then we're going to get into our team work.
"Our kids have done a good job of coming along and going through it," he continued. "To be honest, we've practiced pretty well the last three to four weeks. The first three or four weeks, not so much. I think we've got better at practice. It's just when you are in the game at half time, you've got to find a way to stay with it and pull it out in the end. Here lately, teams have been wearing us down in the third and fourth quarters and we haven't been able to hang. You've got be able to stick and make plays when you are tired.
"The old excuse about being to young are being to small, well you know what? That's not a good excuse any more," he stated. " We have to play football and we've got to do it together. If we do that, and we do it for four quarters, we'll have a chance. If we don't...?
NOTE: Green Wave senior running back Romello McCoy left early in the second half last week with an injury. His status for this week wasn't known at press time...Malden's two losses this season have come against Caruthersville and Portageville.... they have wins over New Madrid County Central and Kennett, common opponents with Dexter.