BELLEFONTAINE — Sidney couldn’t keep up with Bellefontaine’s potent offense in a season opener on Friday at AcuSport Stadium.
Ohio State verbal commit Tavien St. Clair threw five touchdown passes to help lead the Chieftains over the Yellow Jackets 46-19. Two of the TD passes came in the second quarter and were a part of a decisive 27-0 run that gave Bellefontaine control.
St. Clair, who committed to Ohio State in June, completed 28-of-36 passes for 314 yards.
“Their quarterback is a special player,” Sidney first-year coach Dave Taynor said. “And we did some things that we need to do better at, as far as things we can control. But there was a fourth-and- I think -10 or -11, and he threw a come back to the field, a 15-yard come back. That’s a throw that doesn’t happen at the high school level very much. He has the ability to make throws like that.
“… But there are things that we need to clean up from a defensive standpoint, as far as our fits are concerned. We’ll look at that a little more on film.”
Sidney had several big plays on offense, but miscues on both sides were costly. The squad turned the ball over twice and struggled defensively.
“You hate for it to happen, but when you get punched in the mouth, you learn,” Taynor said. “We’ve got to go back and learn tomorrow.”
The Chieftains finished with 459 yards of offense while Sidney finished with 350.
Sidney senior quarterback Tucker Herron completed 18-of-28 passes for 262 yards with two TDs and one interception.
Junior receiver Julius Spradling caught six passes for 82 yards and one TD and ran for 28 yards on four carries. He also led the Yellow Jackets with 17 tackles, 15 of which were solo.
Senior receiver Mitchell Davis caught two passes for 75 yards, including a 64-yard TD reception in the third quarter.
Sidney went three-and-out on its first drive. Bellefontaine quickly drove and scored on an 8-yard touchdown run by Chris Fogan with 7:05 left in the first quarter. A two-point conversion try failed, but the Chieftains led 6-0.
Herron broke free on a run on Sidney’s next drive and raced 43 yards up the visitors sideline for a TD with 4:10 left. Bellefontaine blocked Joey Flynn’s extra point try to keep the score tied 6-6.
The rest of the first half was all Bellefontaine. Fogan scored on a 9-yard run with 2:09 left to boost the lead to 12-6 after another failed two-point try.
St. Clair threw a 12-yard touchdown pass to Riley Neer with 7:30 left in the second to boost the lead to 19-6; he threw a 5-yard TD pass to Fogan with 10 seconds left to boost the lead to 20 points at halftime.
St. Clair threw a 16-yard TD pass to Haiden Manns to cap off the opening drive of the third quarter and boost the lead to 32-6 after a missed extra point.
Herron threw a pass over the middle to Davis on the next drive, and Davis ran most of the way on a 64-yard TD reception with 8:09 left to cut the gap to 32-12 after a missed extra point.
But the Chieftains again drove, and St. Clair threw a 7-yard TD pass to Neer with 4:30 left to boost the lead to 39-12.
After a quick three-and-out by Sidney, Bellefontaine again drove, and St. Clair threw a 16-yard TD pass to CJ Wilson with 38 seconds left to increase the lead to 46-12.
Herron threw an 8-yard TD pass to Spradling with 7:57 left in the fourth to stop the running clock.
Taynor said there were positives on offense, but mistakes were costly.
“If we didn’t kill our own drives, I don’t know if we score more than 46 points, but if we didn’t kill our own drives, we should have been healthfully into the 30s,” Taynor said. “We killed the first drive with a mishandled snap and exchange, and then we had two bad snaps that killed another drive, and then we had a mishandled ball with the quarterback position on a good snap.
The Yellow Jackets are scheduled to host Stebbins (0-1) this Friday at Sidney Memorial Stadium to open Miami Valley League play.
Reach Bryant Billing at 937-538-4818, or follow @SidneyOHSports on Twitter and @BryantBillingSDN on Facebook.