Sports Scene: Some Sidney grads excelling as college players, coaches

Lathan Jones was a late bloomer as a receiver Sidney after playing behind the likes of Conor Beer, Darren Taborn and Ratez Roberts as an underclassmen.

His career path at Wilmington College has followed a similar route, but he has excelled as an upperclassmen once again.

Jones, a senior, was recently named first team all-Ohio Athletic Conference. He had 971 receiving yards on 51 receptions, 13 of which were touchdowns; he tied a program record for receiving TDs in a season. His average of 97.1 receiving yards per game was the best among OAC players.

Jones played a little during his freshman (spring of 2021) and sophomore (fall of ’21) seasons; he had about 300 receiving yards and three TDs those two years combined.

He became a starter as a junior and had a little under 600 receiving yards. He has 1,833 career receiving yards and 21 career TDs.

Jones also played basketball and baseball at Sidney. He took over as a starting receiver for the Yellow Jackets in 2018 and led the team with 444 receiving yards and four TDs. Sidney had more of a ground attack in 2019, but Jones still had 255 receiving yards and four TDs; he also played some at RB in his last three games of his senior year and ran for 135 yards and one TD.

Jones is majoring in exercise science.

Rogers, Toledo playing in MAC championship Saturday

Sidney graduate Devan Rogers is winding up his long career at Toledo and likely has two more big games left.

One big game is already guaranteed: the Rockets (11-1) are going to face Miami (10-2) in the Mid-American Conference championship on Saturday at Ford Field in Detroit. Toledo beat the Redhawks 21-17 in Oxford on Oct. 21.

Toledo will likely be headed to a big bowl game regardless of Saturday’s result, but if victorious on Saturday, it will be in the mix for a Fiesta, Cotton or Peach Bowl berth according to College Football News.

Rogers is in his sixth year at Toledo, thanks to a redshirt year and an extra year of eligibility due to the COVID-19 pandemic; he has already earned a undergraduate degree and is pursuing an MBA. He moved from the defensive line to the offensive line last year and has started as the squad’s center.

Toledo has won 11 straight since losing a late lead and falling 30-28 at Illinois in a season opener.

Sidney grad guiding Ashland on tourney run

Sidney native Cayleb Paulino is in his second year as Ashland’s womens soccer coach and will be guiding the squad in tournament games this weekend.

Paulino played for Sidney’s boys team and led the Greater Western Ohio Conference with 19 goals his senior year. He played at Wilmington College, where he graduated in 2011. Since then, he has been a mens and womens coach at various D-III and D-II universities.

Paulino took over as Ashland’s head coach last year. The squad went 15-3-3 and earned a berth in the NCAA D-II tournament.

The Eagles are 19-0-4 this season and will be hosting an NCAA regional this weekend. They played in a third-round game on Friday and if victorious will play in an Elite Eight match on Saturday. A win Saturday will earn the squad a Final Four berth; the championship will take place next weekend in North Carolina.