Sportswriters discuss season with Rotarians

Staff report

Dave Ross, and new Sidney Daily News Sports Editor Bryant Billing, discussed the fall sports season when they presented a talk to the Sidney Rotary Club recently.

“Last fall, I met Bryant when he was covering a playoff game at Sidney,” said Ross. “That’s the guy I report to now” for his columns with the Sidney Daily News.

Ross talked about opening night of high school football and how pleased he is that the rivalry between Sidney and St. Marys has been established once again.

“I’m pleased the relationship with St. Marys is continuing,” said Ross. “It started in 1962 with Skip Baughman. The only interruptions were caused by Sidney.”

Ross said Sidney opted to play a Dayton Public School instead of St. Marys.

“They (administrators) ran it up the chain and everybody was OK with that,” said Ross. “But at the time, no one had been here for more than a year. I told them they need to know the history of the game before making a decision. I got a call three weeks later that in two years, we’d have an open contract with St. Marys. I think we’ll play them forever.”

Ross talked about the music program at Sidney High School and how the marching band has grown in numbers.

“Opening night, we beat St. Marys 39-32,” said Ross. “Our defense had some challenges. Our offense scores too quickly and our defense doesn’t get a break.”

Ross predicts St. Marys is going to win a lot of games this season. He said they have a young team and the “WBL (Western Buckeye League) is not as strong from the top to the bottom.”

Ross said he feels Sidney has a good chance at the playoffs this year. The team’s only playoff appearance was in 1989 when the team got to the state semifinals.

The Lehman Cavaliers, said Ross, lost its first game 27-21 in overtime to Fort Recovery. The MAC teams were 9-1 during the first week of play.

With the Fort Loramie-Minster game, Ross said he was “shocked Fort Loramie didn’t score.” He also touched on the Anna-Arlington game.

Ross discussed the change in playoffs announced by the Ohio High School Athletic Association. Instead of playoff games being held on Friday and Saturday nights, all the games will be played on Friday nights.

“Because they see better crowds on Friday night, the OHSAA is putting all playoff games on Friday. If teams share a stadium then there could be a second game on Saturday night at that stadium,” he said.

During the second weekend of playoffs in the past, said Ross, Sidney hosted games on Friday and Saturday nights.

“Sidney, Piqua and Wapakoneta are the most popular sites for the games. If a school is hosting a playoff game, they’ll have 50 to 60 people working it,” said Ross. “I brought that up to the OHSAA. I said a school will disqualify themselves from hosting a game if they’re in the playoffs.”

Billing discussed his background in sports and said he has followed the basketball programs in Shelby County for many years. A native of Springfield, Billing started writing for the Springfield newspaper when he was a sophomore. He has covered high school and college sports. He also started his own website, Top Billing Sports, in 2012.

He said, while he’s never lived in Shelby County, he is a descendent of one of the two Billing brothers who settled in Anna many years ago.

Staff report