By Bryant Billing
SIDNEY — Since Doug Frye returned as coach at St. Marys in 2014, two things have changed for Sidney coach Adam Doenges: the Yellow Jackets haven’t won a game in the long-running series, and the two coaches talk a lot less.
Though the pair aren’t likely to converse much more after Friday night, Doenges hopes Sidney will be able to break a three-year losing streak in the series when the teams play at Memorial Stadium. The Roughriders won in lopsided fashion in 2014, but Sidney was close until the fourth quarter in 2015 and let a 12-point halftime lead slip away last year.
“We’re definitely narrowing the gap,” Doenges said. “Last year, I really felt we should have had that one. A little bit of inexperience at a couple of key positions really cost us. The gap is narrowing, and hopefully we’re able to overcome that this year. I think our guys have really been focused on this one the last few weeks, and our seniors are motivated to not go out without having beat them.”
Doenges is 2001 graduate of St. Marys and played during Frye’s first stint there. Frye coached at St. Marys until 2008 and then coached at Wapakoneta from 2010 to 2013. Doenges took over as Sidney’s coach in 2011 and said Frye was a mentor of sorts while at Wapakoneta. That changed once Frye returned to St. Marys.
“He’s gone from a guy that I revere as a head coach from a player’s perspective, to a guy who was kind of my peer, then once he got back to St. Marys, that communication kind of slowed down dramatically,” Doenges said. “It’s still a good relationship. We always have a good pregame talk when we play. He’s a guy I enjoy talking to and also a guy I enjoy playing.”
Field goals an option for Truesdale
Hallie Truesdale is back as Sidney’s kicker, and Doenges said she has improved her leg strength from last season. Truesdale put her leg strength on display last week when she kicked a 35-yard field goal in the second quarter of a scrimmage against Chaminade-Julienne.
Doenges said Truesdale has made field goals from similar distances in practice.
“She’s really improved, and it’s good to know that we have that option,” Doenges said. “I think if I’d have taken a vote on the team, nobody else would have been with me to kick there (against CJ). They all wanted to go for it (on fourth down). But in a scrimmage situation, I wanted to see what’s inside and see if she can do that.”
Doenges said assistant coach Andre Spillers has worked a lot with Truesdale in practice to improve her range. Spillers is a 2013 Sidney graduate and kicked for the Yellow Jackets. He made six field goals during his senior season.
“I looked over at Spillers (on Friday), and he said, ‘She’s been hitting them,’ so I figured alright, it’s time to find out,” Doenges said. “I think it was good for her confidence to go out there and hit a couple of extra points and drill that field goal.”
Truesdale, a sophomore, made 28-of-36 extra-point attempts last year.