TROY — Troy senior running back Jaydon Culp-Bishop has run over, through and by many defenders this season and did the same in a Greater Western Ohio Conference American North Division game against Sidney on Friday.
Though Sidney had success pressuring junior quarterback Brayden Siler and covering Troy’s receivers, it could do little to contain Culp-Bishop. He ran for 125 yards on 27 carries in the first half alone and scored three touchdowns in the game to help Troy beat the Yellow Jackets 38-19 at Troy Memorial Stadium.
It was a sloppy game for both teams in rainy conditions. The Trojans had 10 penalties for 102 yards, while Sidney junior quarterback Ryan Dunham was intercepted six times.
Dunham connected on a pair of on-the-nose passes to Lathan Jones — one of which for a touchdown and the other of which set up a TD — but he struggled against Troy’s pressure and was sacked two times in addition to the interceptions. The Yellow Jackets (4-4, 1-2 GWOC North) finished with a net gain of 0 yards on the ground.
“The run game was going to be a tough road to sled,” Sidney coach Adam Doenges said. “They’re just that good. After we got down, we had to take some shots downfield, and they made some good plays. Obviously too many turnovers, and that’s been our bugaboo in three of our four losses here.”
Troy (7-1, 3-0) had 253 yards of offense and Sidney had 191 — both of which are among the team’s lowest outputs of the season.
“I was happy with the way our defense played, considering they had their backs against the wall,” Doenges said. “We put them in a lot of bad positions with the turnovers and going for the fake punt early in the game, which didn’t work out our way.
“They had their backs against the wall, and I’m proud of the way they took the challenge. For us to win the football game, we were probably going to have to take some chances. We took those chances, and it didn’t work out.”
Sidney will try to bounce back the last two weeks of the season at home against Vandalia-Butler (5-3, 2-1) and Greenville (3-5, 0-3). Sidney has a chance at having consecutive seasons with records above-.500 for the first time 1995-96.
“It’s not just back-to-back winning seasons, but it’s winning seasons three out of the last four years, which I’m pretty sure hasn’t happened the ’71, ’72-type teams,” Doenges said. “That’s important. That was a big goal for our team this year, to show some consistency.”
The Trojans led 24-7 at halftime and quickly went to work in the third quarter.
Troy junior defensive back Weston Smith intercepted a pass in Sidney territory and returned it to the 4-yard line. Culp-Bishop ran in from 3 yards out two plays later to boost the Trojans’ lead to 31-7 after an extra point by Siler.
Culp-Bishop didn’t play the rest of the game, while senior Sam Jackson took over rushing duties and had success. Culp-Bishop finished with 137 rushing yards on 30 carries, while Jackson finished with 50 yards on 17 carries.
Jacob Adams and Smith intercepted two more passes from Dunham over the next six minutes, but Troy’s offense did little.
Dunham bounced back, though, by throwing a 59-yard touchdown pass to Jones with 4:38 left in the third. Jones caught the pass in stride at about the 20 and ran in along the visitor’s sideline. A two-point conversion try failed, but Sidney cut Troy’s lead to 31-13.
Doenges said he was pleased to see how Dunham and the rest of the team’s players played through adverse situations and still came up with big plays late.
“It’s not easy when things aren’t going well for you, and I think it’s important for him to be able to finish football games for us,” Doenges said. “He’s going to give us the best chance at that position these last two weeks to finish strong.
“That’s going to be our mind set. Obviously the playoff stuff and the GWOC North is probably out of the question, but we still have major goals, the biggest being back-to-back winning seasons.”
Christian Retterer recovered a fumble to end Sidney’s next drive, but Smith intercepted a pass and returned it about 45 yards to Sidney’s 20 near the end of the third.
Troy scored several plays later on a 1-yard run by Jackson, which increased the lead to 38-13 with 10:11 left in the fourth.
Kobe Feltner picked off a Dunham pass to end Sidney’s next drive, but Troy later lost control of a punt. The Yellow Jackets got the ball back Troy’s 36 and scored with about five minutes left on a 17-yard touchdown pass from Dunham to Ratez Roberts. The extra point was no good, but Troy’s lead was narrowed to 38-19.
Siler completed 8-of-18 passes for Troy for 72 yards, while Dunham completed 10-of-25 passes for 191 yards. Caleb Harris was Sidney’s top rusher by gaining 13 yards on 12 carries.
Troy drove 65 yards in 17 plays on the first drive of the game on its way to a 7-yard touchdown run by Culp-Bishop. The Trojans converted two fourth-down tries on the drive, which drained the clock to 5:55.
Sidney faked a punt on its first drive, which resulted in an incomplete pass. Troy scored three plays later on a broken play when Siler scrambled and threw a 35-yard touchdown pass to a wide-open Caillou Monroe. The TD reception gave Troy a 14-0 lead with 4:03 left in the first.
Sidney turned the ball over on downs on the next drive, and Troy did the same after an incomplete pass on a fourth-down attempt.
Dunham threw a 46-yard pass to Jones on the next drive, which set up a 13-yard touchdown pass to a wide-open Roberts two plays later. Junior kicker Hallie Truesdale made the extra point to pull Sidney within 14-7 with 9:13 left in the second.
Troy drove 65 yards on its next drive, with 32 coming on a run from Culp-Bishop. He capped it off with a 5-yard touchdown run with 5:00 left to boost Troy’s lead to 14 points.
After the two squads traded punts, Troy’s Jacob Shoop intercepted a Dunham pass and returned it to about the Sidney 25 with about 1:15 left. Siler made a 25-yard field goal as time expired to boost Troy’s halftime lead to 24-7.
Troy will hope to continue its march to a third consecutive GWOC North title on Friday at Greenville.
Reach Bryant Billing at 937-538-4818, or follow @SidneyOHSports on Twitter and @BryantBillingSDN on Facebook.