SIDNEY — The Sidney Rotary Club hosted two area high school football coaches during the club’s Aug. 22 meeting.
Coach Richard Roll, of Lehman Catholic, and Coach Adam Doenges, of Sidney High School, shared insights, updates, and an outlook on the upcoming seasons at their respective schools.
Roll, who is in his 11th year of coaching at Lehman, stated that this year they have 22 returning lettermen, 19 of which are returning starters. Challenges to this year’s team include replacing their starting quarterback, along with losing some other key players on last year’s team. Roll described joining the Northwest Central Conference, in which Lehman finished third during last year’s season and went on in the playoffs to defeat the champion of the Cross County Conference.
“For the second year in a row and within the first three weeks, we have played two returning state champions. Last year we faced Minster in Week 2 and this year we face Fort Recovery in Week 1.” Roll talked about how, in his years at Lehman, the team has been to the playoffs eight times. In about half of those games, they were defeated by the ultimate state champion.
“The biggest thing we are working against is complacency, which we will be addressing at practice,” Roll said. “Expectations for this year are making a run in the playoffs and competing for a league championship.”
Doenges discussed the success Sidney had in 2015: the team had its first winning season in the last 13 years.
Doenges said, “We took a step in the right direction. Six to four was something to definitely be proud of, and a lot of that had to do with the 18 seniors’ buying in to what they had to do.”
Doenges talked about the success a few of those 18 seniors from last year are having at the college level. He emphasized that it was great to have some of that success because there are kids in this year’s class and in the future, “that are good enough to play in the NCAA and at the Division 1 level.” This year, the team was challenged and had offseason weightlifting four days per week, Monday through Thursday that started at 7 a.m.
“The best players are also our hardest workers and that elevates everyone else up just a little bit more.” the coach said. Doenges talked about a few success stories his current players are having with getting college offers for football.
He also discussed complacency and how the team wants to improve from their six-to-four season last year.
“We are returning six starters on both sides of the ball, and 16 lettermen,” said Doenges. “This has been, by far, our best, hardest working summer. Our kids don’t want just six to four. They want something a little bit more.” Sidney opens with St. Marys in Week 1, and then Bellefontaine in Week 2. They also have three new opponents on the schedule, including Dayton Carroll, Xenia and Tipp City.