Sports Extra with Dave Ross: 100 years ago: Yellow Jackets have interesting season


Oops. I can’t say that. Back in 1921 we weren’t yet the Yellow Jackets. That would follow five years later when coach Granville Robinson arrived fresh out of Baldwin Wallace College and brought the nickname with him to Sidney. At any rate, the 1921 SHS football season still makes for an interesting study a century later.

A final record of 5-3-1 sounds decent and is, but this one started well, finished poorly, and had many intriguing footnotes along the way. This was Si Warfield’s first of five seasons coaching the orange and black. A $1 season ticket allowed admission to five home games at Lakeside Park, now the swimming pool area entering Tawawa Park. Lakeside also hosted lots of baseball including barnstorming major leaguers on days off or after the season.

The 1921 campaign opened with a scoreless tie at Piqua, followed by dominating shutouts over St. Marys, Bradford, and St. Marys again. Then a pair of wins over Bellefontaine sandwiched a 20-7 loss at Dayton Stivers. Captain and left halfback Bob Potter figured prominently in both Bellefontaine conquests. In a 14-7 affair in Sidney, he threw the winning TD pass. In the rematch he booted both a pair of field goals and extra points in a 20-7 verdict.

For the Bellefontaine trip, Sidney rooters reserved three railroad coaches. For the trip home they added a baggage car for an addition to the traveling party, a “live” goat that served as Bellefontaine’s mascot. The goat was a “borrowed symbol of victory” and eventually made its way back to Logan County. Railway road trips were both common and festive a century ago.

At this point Sidney was a fine 5-1-1 but would not win again. A 26-7 loss at Wapakoneta didn’t count due to miscommunication that resulted in Sidney’s second team facing the Wapak varsity. Then our guys lost a pair of home encounters to finish the season. The Piqua rematch resulted in a 13-0 loss, followed by an 18-7 win by the University of Dayton prep school in a “sea of mud.” The “UD Preps” operated through the spring of 1935.

I wish I could have made that train trip to Bellefontaine, especially the journey back home on the Big Four Railroad. Sounds like fun. Major cities defining the railroad were Cleveland, Cincinnati, Chicago, and St. Louis. Thus, the Big Four.

My successor

After the 1996 Sidney football season, I completed a book on the first century of SHS football. Now another 25 years have passed and it’s time to chronicle those years. I’m glad to hand off this chore to faculty member, Assistant athletic director, and public address announcer Brett Bickel, who is already at work. Brett brings energy and attention to detail to every endeavor including both SHS athletics and the academic side.

In 1996, I was 42 years old. Still, I wondered who would eventually continue my Sidney football historical work. Little did I know that my answer was a senior at SHS. I’m glad to have Brett on board. He’s the son of a cheerleader and football manager who grew up with the Yellow Jackets. We’ll have more information in the winter and spring.

Winless playoff team

Is this even possible? Yes, it actually happened. A team that didn’t win a game made the Ohio football playoffs. This was made possible by fewer schools being assigned to Division I. In region four, there were only 17 schools. When one opted out of postseason, that elevated last place Cincinnati Oak Hills to a date with top seed Cincinnati Moeller. Moeller dominated early and coasted home 35-14. The OHSAA should consider allowing only 12 qualifiers per region for its top division.

9-16 win some games

With the playoffs doubling in size, 224 teams played last weekend who would have been left home previously except last year when all qualified. Thirty-three of them went on the road and defeated their higher seeded counterparts. Only one top seed fell to a 16 as Milan Edison won in division IV. Edison might actually be a good team in a tough region. winning five times during the regular season.

Anna advanced as a 13 seed in Region 24 of Division VI with a 17-3 verdict at No. 4 seed Springfield Northeastern . The Rockets also earned a home game with 14 seed Fort Recovery, which bested 3 seed Arcanum 40-30. Only two squads of the 224 seeds 9-16 will play at home this weekend. Neutral sites begin next week almost assuredly including Sidney Memorial Stadium with Division VI or VII on Saturday. Division III is currently possible the night before, especially if Piqua would not elect to host due to their own team playing elsewhere.

Anna and Fort Recovery truly reflect the deep quality of Midwest Athletic Conference football. They do just fine against outside competition. Eight weeks ago the Rockets hosted and shutout Fort Recovery 28-0. The MAC can’t repeat the 7-0 mark from last Saturday since two of those seven play each other. They’ll have to settle for 6-1 and that just might happen.

Sports Extra

With Dave Ross

Sports Extra appears each Friday. Dave Ross is the historian of Sidney High School football. He also is the senior member of the OHSAA Media Advisory Committee and has served as media coordinator for playoff games in Sidney.

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