TRENTON — Sidney senior starting wide receiver and defensive back Darren Taborn has seen a stadium’s worth of great players through his time at Sidney, both teammates and opponents. He’s not a bad player himself, as offers he picked up from Youngstown State and Grand Valley State this summer can attest.
But for all the great plays he’s made himself or witnessed over the last four seasons, he was still gushing about the moves sophomore receiver Quamir “Philly” Brown displayed in a quad scrimmage at Trenton Edgewood on Saturday long after the starters were pulled from action.
“Did you see what Philly did to that last kid?” Taborn asked a group of teammates between a series. “I don’t think that kid saw it.”
Brown is expected to be one of several big playmakers on offense and defense for the Yellow Jackets this season and made the biggest offensive plays on Saturday. He scored four touchdowns in varsity action against Edgewood and Clinton-Massie and had other big plays, including a 39-yard run in which he was stopped just short of the end zone.
Brown’s touchdowns were the highlights of the day for Sidney’s offense, which largely moved the ball well when its starters were in.
There were bad moments, though, and ninth-year coach Adam Doenges told the team after the scrimmage the next week of practice will be crucial to fixing issues.
“I thought we looked pretty good when our known commodities, the guys that have already played varsity football, got their reps in,” Doenges said. “Some of our backups and new guys that we’re hoping to play on Friday nights showed we have some work left to do. Some of those guys are going to drop down the (depth chart) after today and some of them are going to move up.”
The scrimmage featured the Yellow Jackets, Edgewood, Milford and Clinton-Massie. It’s been a favorite of Doenges in recent years to gauge Sidney’s strengths and weaknesses against quality competition.
Milford, a D-I program, finished 9-3 last year. Edgewood (D-II) finished 8-3 and Clinton-Massie (D-IV) finished 10-2. Each squad made the playoffs.
“It’s great competition against teams that not only get in the playoffs but can win some games,” Doenges said. “We saw three different offenses and three different defenses. I feel confident we got better, but we’ll see after watching the film just how better we got.”
Sidney had three 10-play offensive and defensive series (all of which started at the 40-yard line) against Edgewood and Milford and two against the Falcons. The squad used its offensive starters for one series against each opponent and swapped its starters in and out with second-string players on the first two possessions before using all backups and JV players in the third possession.
The Yellow Jackets first opponent was Edgewood and they stated on offense. They moved the ball easily against the Cougars, starting on the first play when Ryan Dunham threw a 25-yard pass to Lathan Jones.
Brown scored on a 15-yard run on the possession in which he made several cuts and spun and later scored after taking a short pass 20 yards.
Doenges credited Brown for his big playmaking ability and was also happy with the blocking by the team’s receivers on Brown’s big plays — including from Taborn, who pancaked an Edgewood player on Brown’s second TD.
“Quamir made a lot of things happen, but I’m really glad Darren Taborn, Lathan Jones, Ryan Cagle and Clay Carter all were blocking great on the perimeter to help him out,” Doenges said.
“We had three holding calls on our receivers today, and I don’t know if we’ve ever had that before. …We’ll have to look at the film and check and then square up the technique as we need, but it’s great that the effort’s there. That’s something we usually have to try to get from guys, to block like that at this time of the year.”
Edgewood’s starters struggled to move the ball for much of the squad’s first series and lost a fumble. The squad took nearly all of the possession to drive down but scored on the ninth play on a 5-yard run in which a player recovered a fumble in the end zone.
Sidney’s offense struggled in the varsity portion against Milford. The Yellow Jackets gained 20 yards in 10 plays and had a tipped pass intercepted. The Eagles’ offense scored two touchdowns on long passes when its starters were in.
“We got a bit emotional there in that Milford scrimmage, and I think that took us out of our rhythm a little bit and what we wanted,” Doenges said.
Clinton-Massie’s run-oriented attack caused problems for Sidney. The Falcons’ starters had several big runs and scored three touchdowns.
Sidney’s offense found immediate success against Clinton-Massie, though. Brown ran for 39 yards on the first play and scored on a short touchdown catch a few players later and later ran for a 10-yard TD on the possession.
Sidney will wrap up preseason play on Thursday when its hosts Chaminade-Julienne at Sidney Memorial Stadium. The scrimmage will be structured like a normal game and will start at 7 p.m.
“We’ve still got to find some more juniors and sophomores to step up and play for us on Friday nights,” Doenges said. “We need 25 or 30 players to step on the field for us, and we don’t have that yet. But we’ve got time.”
Reach Bryant Billing at 937-538-4818, or follow @SidneyOHSports on Twitter and @BryantBillingSDN on Facebook.