SIDNEY — After two relatively clean weeks, multiple turnovers led to Sidney being on the losing end of a lopsided score on Friday.
The Yellow Jackets had seven turnovers in a Greater Western Ohio Conference crossover game at Sidney Memorial Stadium and lost 41-7 to Trotwood-Madison. Sidney falls to 2-2 with the loss, while Trotwood improves to 2-2.
Five of the six interceptions Sidney had and one fumble led to Trotwood’s six touchdowns.
Sidney had one turnover in its last two games, but Friday was similar to the team’s season opener at St. Marys. The Yellow Jackets had five turnovers against the Roughriders and lost 35-7.
“It was just another really good defense,” Sidney coach Adam Doenges said of Trotwood. “Some of it was we had to rush throws because they were getting through on five- and six-man pressure, some it was some bad throws by the quarterbacks, and some of it was we didn’t help the quarterbacks out by making plays or running the wrong route.
“It’s just a culmination of mistakes offensively, and we’ve got to fix that. Part of that is they’re a good defense. We felt going in we could do some things, but there in the first half we just weren’t able to do it.”
Sidney was able to bounce back after losing to St. Marys with a close win over Bellefontaine in Week 2 and a lopsided win over Belmont last week. Doenges said he’s confident the Yellow Jackets will play better next week when they travel to Fairborn, which dropped to 0-4 with a 29-14 loss at Piqua on Friday.
“All of the first four (opponents) were playoff teams last year, and we wanted to be 3-1 coming out of it,” Doenges said. “That was kind of the mindset. But we’re 2-2 now and have to continue to move forward.
“… Each one of the kids has to evaluate if they came ready to practice Sunday through Thursday this last week and come in with the right mindset. That was the disappointing thing on both sides of the ball. We’ve got to do a better job of worrying about ourselves and taking care of ourselves, and if we do that, we feel pretty good moving forward in our last six games.”
It will be the last time the teams face off in the foreseeable future. Sidney is leaving with nine other GWOC American League teams to reform the Miami Valley League, while Trotwood will remain in the GWOC.
“I have an immense amount of respect for Trotwood and what they do,” Doenges said. “Those guys work extremely hard on doing the best for those kids. I don’t think I see anybody else other than myself that works harder on loading up vans and taking 20 kids at a time over the summer, like they do. Their kids are extremely well-coached. … What they do is not by accident or just because they have athletic kids. They do what’s really good for those kids, and I wish them well going forward.”
Trotwood, which is the defending Division III state champion, led 21-0 at halftime on Friday. All three of its first-half touchdowns came on drives after Sidney turnovers. The Rams capitalized on three of Sidney’s four turnovers in the second half, one of which came early in the third.
After Trotwood was forced to punt on the first drive of the second half, Sidney junior quarterback Ryan Dunham had a partially deflected pass intercepted by Trotwood linebacker Jarrell Sanders at Sidney’s 14-yard line.
Trotwood sophomore quarterback Cooper Stewart scored on a 2-yard run two plays later to push the lead to 28-0 with 9:11 left in the second quarter.
Sidney scored a bit later. After a 63-yard run by senior running back Caleb Harris moved the ball into Trotwood territory, Dunham threw a 26-yard touchdown pass to Lathan Jones. The TD pass — which came on a fourth-and-16 — cut Trotwood’s lead to 21 points after Hallie Truesdale kicked an extra point.
Trotwood fumbled on its next drive, and senior linebacker Christian Retterer recovered at Sidney’s 14.
It didn’t cost the Rams, though, as Keon Hamilton intercepted a Dunham pass three plays later and returned it about 20 yards up the visitor’s sidelines for a touchdown. Harris blocked Trotwood’s extra point, but the Rams took a 34-7 lead with 3:12 left in the third.
Carl Blanton Jr. picked up his second interception of the game when he picked off a pass from Sidney freshman QB EJ Davis, which ended the Yellow Jackets’ next drive.
The Rams picked off another pass from Dunham early in the fourth and scored on their resulting drive on a 5-yard touchdown run by Ke’Shawn Hughley. The TD run gave Trotwood a 41-7 lead with 9:12 left.
The rest of the game was played with a running clock.
The Rams had 311 yards of offense, while Sidney had 249.
Dunham completed 10-of-31 passes for 151 yards with one touchdown and four interceptions. Harris gained 122 rushing yards on 16 carries and Ratez Roberts led Sidney with 51 receiving yards on two catches.
Stewart completed 10-of-22 passes for 121 yards and threw two TDs. He also ran for 35 yards on 15 carries. Hamilton led Trotwood with 78 rushing yards on 13 carries.
Sidney and Trotwood were forced to punt on their first two drives of Friday’s game after each managed just one first down in that time.
Sidney got two first downs on its third drive, but a handoff between Dunham and Harris was fumbled at Sidney’s 44-yard line. The Rams scored several plays later on a 5-yard touchdown run by Hamilton to take a 7-0 lead with 1:25 left.
Blanton Jr. intercepted a Dunham pass early in the second quarter and returned it six yards to Trotwood’s 46. The Rams scored eight plays later on a 22-yard pass from Stewart to tight end Justin Stephens, which Stephens caught along the visitor’s sideline. The touchdown gave Trotwood a 14-0 lead with 8:34 left in the second.
Kwaelinn Kirk intercepted a pass from Harris on a trick play late in the second quarter, which was Sidney’s third turnover of the first half. Just like the previous two turnovers, Trotwood made Sidney pay.
The Rams found success running up the middle on their drive after the interception. Stewart scrambled 12 yards for a first down at Sidney’s 17 and threw a touchdown pass two plays later to George Anderson with 12 seconds left in the second to boost Trotwood’s lead to 21-0.
Reach Bryant Billing at 937-538-4818, or follow @SidneyOHSports on Twitter and @BryantBillingSDN on Facebook.