SIDNEY — There were good things Sidney can take away from a scrimmage on Thursday at Sidney Memorial Stadium, one of which is this: it probably won’t be the only team Chaminade-Julienne racks up yards and points against this year.
The Eagles steamrolled their way to a 5-0 record last year before several players had to sit the rest of the season due to OHSAA transfer rules. They’re expected to have that kind of success for a full season this year and make a deep playoff run in Division III.
With their full squad back on Thursday, the Eagles got back on the steamroller and put on an impressive display. They scored the game’s first three touchdowns and controlled things the rest of the way on their way to a 33-14 victory in the varsity portion.
“There’s a reason why they are being labeled as a contender to not just make the playoffs but win a state title,” Sidney coach Adam Doenges said. “… Obviously, though, we need to get better.”
CJ unofficially had 459 yards of offense in three quarters of play while Sidney had 272.
CJ senior quarterback Ryan Minor — one of the transfers that sat the last half of the season — completed 10-of-13 passes for 179 yards and two touchdowns. He also ran for 28 yards and one TD on four carries.
Another transfer that sat the last half was running back Marquis Henry, who ran for 106 yards and one touchdown on nine carries on Thursday. Quincy Johnson also ran for 89 yards and one TD.
In short: it wasn’t a good night for Sidney’s defense. The Yellow Jackets several times forced CJ into third-and-longs but then gave up first downs.
The Eagles scored TDs on all five of their drives in the first half.
“On three of those five drives, we had them in third-and-longs, and some really long third-and-longs …but we just couldn’t make big plays to stop (the drives),” Doenges said. “We’ve got to make some big plays when we’re in those situations. They still moved the ball well in those other two drives, and obviously we’ve got to get better.”
Sidney senior quarterback Ryan Dunham completed 8-of-15 passes for 166 yards. Cam Vordemark led the receiving corps with 73 yards on three catches while Quamir “Philly” Brown and Lathan Jones had 42 and 40 receiving yards, respectively.
EJ Davis finished with 86 rushing yards and two touchdowns on eight carries, though most of the yards came against CJ’s second-string defenders.
“On the offensive side of the ball on first and second down, we could not establish an inside run game,” Doenges said. “That’s something we’d done a decent job at in our first two scrimmages. They gave us some issues there and have some nice players.”
Doenges was pleased Sidney had just two penalties in the three quarters and didn’t commit an offensive turnover. They forced Chaminade into three turnovers on defense, one of which they recovered.
“That’s some of the things we’ve talked about with our kids over the summer,” Doenges said. “We have to be better on the turnover margin. We did that tonight and didn’t shoot ourselves in the foot, while on the defensive side we were able to put the ball on the ground.”
“… When you look at those good things we did and look at the score, obviously we’re not doing some things when the ball’s being snapped. They were better at some fundamentals, and at the end of the day, they made big plays when they needed to.”
The Eagles didn’t take long to score.
Sidney gained a first down on its first play on a 12-yard pass from Dunham to Brown, but the squad didn’t get another and had to punt.
CJ faced two third-and-longs on its first drive but converted on both with a 24-yard pass and a 28-yard pass. Henry then scored on a 10-yard run with 7:27 left to put the Eagles ahead 7-0 after an extra point.
The Yellow Jackets didn’t get another first down until early in the second quarter. The Eagles, meanwhile, kept scoring.
Minor threw a 16-yard touchdown pass to Kenyon Owens with 55 seconds left in the second. After a three-and-out by Sidney gave the Eagles the ball at the 40, Henry ran for 12 yards on the first play, then Minor threw a 48-yard touchdown pass to Owens which boosted the lead to 21-0 with 10:43 left in the second. Owens did most of the work on the play as he took a short pass, cut towards the visitor’s sideline and fought his way through Sidney defenders.
The Yellow Jackets got things going on their fourth drive of the night. Vordemark took a short pass from Dunham 72 yards, and Davis scored on a 10-yard run two plays later to bring Sidney within 21-7 with 8:40 left after Hallie Truesdale made the extra point.
Chaminade quickly responded. Minor scrambled for a nine-yard TD run with 6:58 left two plays after Quincy Johnson had a 52-yard run. The Eagles missed the PAT but had a 27-7 lead.
Johnson scored on a six-yard run with 1:07 left to boost the lead to 33-7 at halftime.
CJ went three-and-out on the first possession of the third quarter, which Sidney matched. The Yellow Jackets recovered a fumble to end the Eagles’ next drive. They got a first down on a 22-yard pass completion from Dunham to Jones but had to punt soon after.
The Eagles brought in their second-string players after that and had to punt after gaining two first downs.
Davis ran for 71 yards on the first play of Sidney’s next drive, then followed the next play with a 2-yard TD run to pull Sidney within 33-14 with 2:01 left.
The squad’s JV and freshman players played in the fourth quarter.
Sidney didn’t escape the night injury free, either. Senior Darren Taborn, who will start at receiver and defensive back, sustained a leg injury and had to be helped to the locker room.
It was the last scrimmage of the season for the Yellow Jackets, who will open regular season next Friday against St. Marys at Sidney Memorial Stadium.
Reach Bryant Billing at 937-538-4818, or follow @SidneyOHSports on Twitter and @BryantBillingSDN on Facebook.