SIDNEY — Many coaching staffs instruct players to always focus on the task at hand and not get distracted by other things. That’s important for Sidney coach Adam Doenges, but he said he always tells players to enjoy the moment and pay attention to the bigger picture they’re apart of.
The team likely will be a part of many pictures on Friday regardless of the outcome.
When the Yellow Jackets (9-1) enter Sidney Memorial Stadium for a Division II, Region 8 quarterfinal against Dayton Belmont (9-0), they’ll be the first team since 1989 to play in a postseason game and only the second in program history.
Doenges said they’ll be plenty of time during warmups on Friday to take a moment and appreciate the accomplishment. And if Sidney’s five regular season home games are any indication, the home stands will likely be crowded long before kickoff — and full of fans snapping pictures on their phones.
“You can definitely tell the excitement, and that’s really neat for the kids to see that community support,” Doenges said. “It’s been a big difference and it’s been neat to be around to see this transformation. Seven years ago, our pay-to-play was $450 because we didn’t have much money in the district, and now it’s $35. It’s been neat to see the community bounce back from that and for our success to coincide.”
Though Friday’s game is the biggest the program has seen in nearly three decades, Doenges isn’t worried. The success the team had in big games was plenty enough to make him feel confident heading into a playoff game.
And big games were aplenty in regular season. Sidney started the season with a big of big wins in front of near-capacity crowds at Memorial Stadium and Bellefontaine’s AcuSport Stadium. Their first three conference games also got a lot of attention from area fans, including the Week 6 win over Piqua at Alexander Stadium.
Doenges said he thinks the team’s ability to play in big games started last winter.
“The basketball team had a lot of success and beat some big-time opponents, including Trotwood at home when they were state-ranked,” Doenges said. “I think our winter sports season really spring boarded us to this fall season. The guys had a lot of success and were healthy and won some big games.
“Besides having a lot of basketball guys on the team, I think the excitement just carried over into the spring lifting and summer lifting. Guys have a lot of confidence now, and that’s evident because we’re able to beat really good teams. We’re ready for the limelight now.”
Bowser rushing watch: Sidney senior running back and Northwestern commit Isaiah Bowser finished the regular season with 2,389 rushing yards and 25 touchdowns on 295 carries with an average of 8.1 yards per carry. He had 2,689 total yards with 30 touchdowns.
Bowser broke the school record for total yards of offense in a season on Friday against Greenville. The previous record was 2,565, which was set by Steve Williams in 1968.
Other records: Sidney also broke two other records with the completion of Friday’s game. The Yellow Jackets averaged 472 yards of offense per game, which bests the previous record of 450 set in 1968.
Quarterback Andre Gordon also surpassed 3,000 career passing yards and 1,500 rushing yards on Friday against Greenville. He has 24 rushing touchdowns in 19 total games.
Contact Bryant Billing at (937) 538-4818, or follow @SidneyOHSports on Twitter.