SIDNEY — Sidney quarterback coach Wince Morris’ birthday was Friday, and Andre Gordon was in a gift-giving mood.
Gordon, a junior quarterback, suffered a shoulder injury earlier this month and was playing his first game in two weeks. He threw a few off-target passes early in the game but connected on plenty late in Sidney’s 42-0 win over West Carrollton in a Greater Western Ohio Conference crossover game.
Gordon completed 7-of-14 passing attempts for 165 yards and three touchdowns.
“Starting in the first half, I was off-rhythm, throwing high balls off my back,” Gordon said. “But I got back into it. …(Morris) told me to do it for him, so I got him. I stepped back up and did what I had to do to lead the team.”
The victory sets up a big GWOC American North Division opener next week between the undefeated Yellow Jackets and Piqua, which beat Xenia 36-20 on Friday to improve to 3-2.
Sidney hasn’t fared well recently in the Battered Helmet rivalry. The Indians have won 10 of the last 12 meetings, including a 33-13 victory last year.
“We’re about to go get 6-0,” Gordon said. “That’s our goal, bring that helmet back and get the seniors happier than ever.”
Sidney coach Adam Doenges said he’s pleased with where the team is at heading into divisional play.
“This was a goal,” Doenges said. “Being 5-0 or 4-1 at this point is what we were hoping for. We talked to the kids about how we have two guaranteed seasons, a nonconference season and our division season. Being 5-0 is nice, but now we’re going to get those two extra numbers beside that. We asked the kids if they want to have a 1-0 next to that or an 0-1. To add special effect to it, it’s Piqua week.”
The performance was the turnaround the team was hoping for after allowing Xenia to accumulate nearly 600 yards of offense and 48 points in last Friday’s close win.
The Pirates run the same triple-option offensive scheme as Xenia and found some success, especially at milking the clock. West Carrollton had the ball for 34 minutes while Sidney had it for 14.
Though the Yellow Jackets gave up five plays 19 yards or longer, they kept West Carrollton out of the red zone for all but one drive.
When the Pirates moved the ball to the 2-yard line late in the third quarter, Sidney’s defense prevented a score by stopping four consecutive running plays up the middle.
The Pirates had 194 yards of offense in the game and turned the ball over twice.
“It was nice we were able to go over the (triple-option) again and clear some mistakes up,” Doenges said. “The kids played nice. …We were hard on them this week, and they were hard on them themselves. It was neat to be able to watch them hold on four-straight downs like that. It’s a good way to get their confidence back up.”
After West Carrollton turned the ball over on downs, Isaiah Bowser had a 76-yard run to move the ball to the 4-yard line. He ran it in a few plays later from two yards out to give Sidney a 28-0 lead with 1:03 left in the third quarter.
After another West Carrollton punt, Darren Taborn caught a 24-yard touchdown pass from Gordon with 9:38 left in the fourth quarter to extend the lead to 35-0 and start a running clock.
Backup quarterback Ryan Dunham threw a 21-yard touchdown pass to sophomore receiver Lathan Jones late in the fourth to finish the night’s scoring.
Bowser finished with 205 rushing yards on 19 carries with two touchdowns. He’s on pace to gain nearly 3,000 yards this season after rushing for 1,448 through the first five games.
Sidney had 479 yards of offense. In the first five games, the Yellow Jackets averaged 506 yards and 42.6 points — the best in the 20-team GWOC in both categories.
West Carrollton controlled the ball for the first seven minutes of the game, but Sidney forced a punt and scored on its first play. Bowser took a short pass from Gordon 80 yards for a touchdown to give the Yellow Jackets a 7-0 lead with 4:46 left in the first.
Bowser scored on the first play of the second quarter on a 1-yard run to extend the lead to 14-0. The Pirates controlled the ball for most of the rest of the quarter and forced Sidney into two punts.
“A lot of credit to West Carrollton,” Doenges said. “We only had four offensive possessions and we scored on two of them. We’ll take scoring on 50 percent of possessions most of the time. They didn’t have long drives against us, but getting one first down, that’s seven plays where they’re going to run the clock down and take a lot of seconds off.
“The kids did a nice job in the second half. They were a little frustrated, but they settled down and did nice things in the second half.”
Gordon capped off the first drive of the third quarter with a 21-yard touchdown pass to Kelton Stockton with 9:50 left.
After going 5-0 to start the season, Gordon said he thinks the Yellow Jackets have the potential to finish the second half 5-0.
“We’ve got an amazing running back, and our line is doing great this year,” Gordon said. “On defense, we’ve got to step up, but our defense knows what we’ve got to do. Everyone on our defense is athletic.”
— Sidney Daily News (@sidneydailynews) September 23, 2017
Contact Bryant Billing at (937) 538-4818, or follow @SidneyOHSports on Twitter.