SIDNEY — Sidney got behind early against St. Marys and Bellefontaine in its first two games of the season before rallying late in both.
There was no rally on Friday after falling behind by two touchdowns early to archrival Piqua. Things just got worse.
The Yellow Jackets sputtered on offense and struggled to slow Piqua in a 29-0 loss in a Miami Valley League game at Alexander Stadium. It was the first conference game for Sidney (1-3) since the school helped reform the MVL with Piqua and eight other former Greater Western Ohio Conference schools earlier this year.
Any hopes of a rally to at least close the gap in the second half like Sidney did in its first two games were quickly dashed. Piqua led 21-0 at halftime, and after the Yellow Jackets drove to the 25-yard line on the first drive of the third quarter, they turned the ball over on downs.
The Indians (2-2, 2-0 MVL) then methodically drove down the field and ate about 10 minutes off the clock. Ca’ron Coleman scored on a 2-yard touchdown run with 10:38 left in the fourth quarter to boost Piqua’s lead to 27-0 after a missed two-point conversion.
The Indians added two late points on a safety after Sidney snapped the ball out of the back of the end zone.
“We got handled in all phases of the game,” Sidney coach Adam Doenges said. “… Offense, defense, special teams, situation stuff, defense when we’re third-and-long or third-and-short. …Every facet of the game, we were not good and thoroughly beaten.
“… When that happens, it’s back on me, and that’s what we’re going to tell our players. This one’s on me. When you get beat in all three phases like that, it’s got to come back to me. We’ve got to get some things fixed.”
Piqua scored on its first two drives of the game while holding Sidney to negative-22 yards of offense on its first two drives.
Though the Yellow Jackets were able to move the ball at times after that, they were still inconsistent. Penalties and injuries didn’t help, but Piqua’s defensive pressure alone made it difficult, as the Indians frequently stopped running plays for loss and pressured senior quarterback Ryan Dunham.
Two of Sidney’s biggest offensive weapons suffered leg injuries. Sophomore receiver Quamir “Philly” Brown suffered a leg injury in the first half. Though he later played in the second half, he seemed slower and was held out for most of the rest of the game.
Sophomore running back E.J. Davis suffered a leg injury on Sidney’s first drive in the third quarter after he was tackled by a gang of Piqua defenders and also seemed to be brought down by his face mask on the play. He did not reenter.
“We just started losing some bodies,” Doenges said. “We’ve been pretty healthy for the last few years, but I guess karma is coming around to get us. We’re beat up pretty bad and were really looking for bodies in the second half.”
Piqua scored on the first drive of the game after moving 65 yards on eight plays. Blane Ouhl threw a 24-yard touchdown pass to Garrett Schrubb with 8:30 left to put the Indians ahead 7-0.
Sidney lost 15 yards on its first drive and punted to its own 38. The Indians scored nine plays later on a 4-yard run by Coleman to increase the lead to 14-0 with 1:59 left in the first.
The Yellow Jackets lost seven yards on their second drive and punted again, but Piqua fumbled early in the second quarter, and Sidney’s Conley New recovered near midfield.
Sidney quickly drove into Piqua territory, but Davis was stripped of the ball by Piqua’s Jerell Lewis at the 4-yard line.
The Indians then chewed off most of the remaining time left in the quarter by driving 96 yards and scoring on a 9-yard run by Ouhl with 1:21 left to boost the lead to 21-0. Ouhl appeared to fumble before crossing the goal line, but the officials ruled it a touchdown. The TD run came two plays after Ouhl threw a 20-yard pass on a fourth down to keep the drive alive.
Sidney continues MVL play next Friday when it travels to Xenia (3-1, 1-0).
“We’ve still got six games left,” Doenges said. “We’ve played good football teams. …We still think we’re a good football games right now, but we’re not finishing games or starting games right now. We’ve got a lot of work to do, and that comes back on me.”
Piqua outgained Sidney 302 yards to 91. Coleman finished with 86 rushing yards while Cory Miller gained 66. Ouhl completed 3-of-4 passes for 53 yards and ran for 32 yards.
Dunham completed 7-of-14 passes for 72 yards for Sidney. Davis finished with 53 rushing yards on 10 carries. As a team, Sidney had 19 rushing yards on 19 carries.
The victory earned a point for Piqua in the Piqua vs. Sidney all-sports trophy competition, which is in its third year. After Friday’s game, Piqua owns a 5-3.5 lead over Sidney.
The win is Piqua’s first at Alexander Stadium against Sidney since 2013.
Reach Bryant Billing at 937-538-4818, or follow @SidneyOHSports on Twitter and @BryantBillingSDN on Facebook.