SIDNEY — It wasn’t a tale of two halves. It was a tale of before and after an ejection.
Sidney scored the first three touchdowns and beat Stebbins 28-14 in a Miami Valley League game on Friday at Sidney Memorial Stadium.
The Yellow Jackets largely dominated before junior Julius Spradling was ejected early in the second quarter for targeting. Spradling, who led the squad in tackles and receiving in a Week 1 loss at Bellefontaine, amassed 82 receiving yards and 4.5 tackles in a little over a quarter on Friday.
“We set the tone early and we executed,” Sidney coach Dave Taynor said. “We lost Julius in the first half, and when that happened, that moved some people around in positions. I don’t think we responded well offensively. Up until that point in time, I think we were firing on all cylinders.
“… I was happy with parts of what we did. There’s other parts that we’ve got to do a lot better. We’ve got to learn to finish games.”
The Yellow Jackets (1-1) had 275 yards of offense while Stebbins had 251.
Senior quarterback Tucker Herron completed 13-of-32 passes for 209 yards and three TDs with two interceptions. Spradling caught three passes (including one TD), Perry “Tank” Fleming caught five passes for 58 yards and one TD and Ethan New caught three passes for 51 yards and one TD.
The Yellow Jackets sacked Stebbins quarterback Devin McCormick three times and had 10 tackles for loss. Nearly half of the Indians’ total offensive yards came on their two touchdown runs.
“Outside of the one big play we gave up, I was happy with how we played defensively,” Taynor, who is in his first season and picked up his first win as the program’s coach, said. “We did a pretty good job and created a couple takeaways. We gave up one big run, and we can’t let that happen.”
Taynor said he was pleased with the defensive play in the second half, considering the loss of Spradling at free safety. He led the squad with 17 tackles against Bellefontaine last week.
“He makes a ton of plays back there for us,” Taynor said. “He’s a dynamic defensive player for us.”
Sidney’s first possession ended when Stebbins’ RayVonn Harris intercepted a pass. The Indians quickly were forced to punt, and the Yellow Jackets went on a lengthy drive and scored on a 3-yard TD run by Fleming with 4:46 left to take a 7-0 lead after a Joey Flynn extra-point kick.
Sidney again forced a quick punt and scored shortly after. Spradling caught a short pass and ran 53 yards for a TD up the home sideline with 1:25 left.
The Indians (0-2) went three-and-out, and Sidney again quickly drove. Herron threw a 24-yard TD pass to Fleming with 10:19 left in the second to take a 21-0 lead.
Stebbins again had to punt, but Spradling was ejected on the possession, and Sidney’s offense struggled and had to punt for the first time.
The Indians drove quickly and scored when Cadan Keller broke free on a 32-yard TD run with 1:53 left. But Sidney quickly responded before the end of the half; New caught a 27-yard TD pass from Herron with 14 seconds left to boost the lead to 28-7 at halftime.
Harris broke free on a 96-yard TD run with 7:31 left in the fourth to cut the gap to 14 points. Sidney fumbled deep in Stebbins territory late in the quarter. The Indians drove, but Dylan Kelly intercepted a pass in Sidney territory to prevent things from getting closer.
Sidney committed three turnovers.
“We turned it over way too many times,” Taynor said. “We’ve got to remove those for next week. …We’ve got to play a lot better game, a four-quarter game.”
The Yellow Jackets are scheduled to travel to Xenia’s newly renovated Doug Adams Stadium this coming Friday. The Buccaneers, which won the MVL title last year, improved to 2-0 on Friday by beating West Carrollton by 30 points.
Reach Bryant Billing at 937-538-4818, or follow @SidneyOHSports on Twitter and @BryantBillingSDN on Facebook.