SIDNEY — Sidney coach Adam Doenges saw plenty to be optimistic about in a scrimmage against Chaminade-Julienne on Thursday but said there’s plenty to be improved upon heading into next week’s season opener.
The Eagles scored two touchdowns in the third quarter to pull away and beat Sidney 28-13 on Thursday at Sidney Memorial Stadium.
“Overall, I think our kids are walking away feeling good,” Doenges said. “They did some good things, and we can fix the things we didn’t do so good. I don’t have to tell them that we got better tonight. At the end of the day, we’re ready to move on and start with a clean slate.”
It was the final scrimmage for the Yellow Jackets, who are scheduled to open regular-season play by hosting Bellefontaine this Friday. Sidney traveled to Northmont for a scrimmage last Saturday.
CJ is under the guidance of first-year coach Earl White, who had much success in the last decade coaching at Dayton Belmont and Thurgood Marshall.
White brought his unique double-wing offense with him to CJ, and it gave Sidney some problems — including on a few passes.
“I’ll sleep easier knowing I don’t have to go against that offense (in a game),” Doenges said. “We don’t spend much time preparing for a scrimmage opponent; most teams don’t. …It’s not an easy thing when you have a whole week to prepare for it, let alone just 15, 20 minutes on it, which is what we did (Wednesday) in practice, just learning how to line up to it.
“I thought we continued to play physical against that offense. You have to stay disciplined. They hit us for a couple of big passes there, a couple of big plays. Those are things that we can fix.”
There was a lot of scoring early.
The Eagles scored on the first drive of the scrimmage. A long pass set up an about 3-yard TD run with 8:15 left to give the squad a 7-0 lead.
Sidney responded quickly when junior quarterback Tucker Herron threw an TD pass of about 55 yards to senior receiver Sam Reynolds with 6:44 left. The Yellow Jackets missed the extra point, allowing CJ to keep a 14-13 lead.
The Eagles quickly scored again on a TD pass of about 35 yards to take a 14-6 lead with 5:23 left in the first.
Sidney was able to contain Chaminade for the rest of the first half.
“We could have folded pretty easily, but I thought the seniors stepped up,” Doenges said. “The seniors have had a few moments over the summer where they’ve had to step up and lead. Those guys, led by (linebacker) Myles Vordemark, did a good job of not freaking out and remaining calm.
“We shot ourselves in the foot on two different two plays, but otherwise, we were playing well and playing physical. It was nice to see them bounce back. We had some similar situations last week at Northmont where they bounced back.”
Sidney’s offense sputtered until a strong drive late in the second quarter, which was capped off by a 5-yard TD pass from Herron to Reynolds.
A celebration penalty resulted in the extra-point attempt being moved back, but it went through with ease to cut the gap to 14-13 with 16 seconds left.
Sidney’s offense didn’t pick up much ground in the third quarter, and CJ scored two TDs to pull away. Junior varsity players played in the fourth.
Doenges said he was pleased with the offensive effort.
“It’s a little bit different from what we’ve done in the past,” Doenges said. “We’re still trying to figure out what kids to put in what spot and who’s going to give us the best chance.
“We’ve still got five guys out there that are capable of making plays. We’ve got to figure out how to get Sam Reynolds the ball, get Jy Wheeler the ball, get Julius Spradling the ball and get our running backs the ball.”
CJ scored on a 40-yard TD run with 5:51 left in the third to take a 21-13 lead.
Sidney turned the ball over on downs in CJ territory, and the Eagles drove and scored on a short run with 34 seconds left to seal the win.
“If we could have picked up another first down on our last offensive drive, now we have possibility of scoring at the end of the third quarter and having it be tied or close to it heading into the fourth quarter,” Doenges said. “We didn’t pick up the first down, they go down and score, and they would have had the momentum going into the fourth quarter being up two scores.
“Throughout the course of the game, you’re going to find four or five plays that make the difference. Not picking up the first down on that last drive could have made a difference if we had played four full quarters.”