XENIA — Sidney sputtered on offense and was shut out for the second consecutive week in a Miami Valley League game on Friday.
Though the Yellow Jackets were largely able to contain Xenia’s triple-option rushing attack, the Buccaneers were able to move enough to earn a 20-0 victory at Doug Adams Stadium.
The loss drops Sidney to 1-4 overall and 0-2 in MVL Valley Division play. Xenia improves to 4-1 and 2-0, respectively.
Though the Yellow Jackets held Xenia to its second-lowest offensive output of the season, they struggled on offense themselves with starting running back E.J. Davis on the sidelines. Davis, who entered the game with the most rushing yards of MVL players, was injured last week against Piqua. Fellow sophomore Jaden Swiger started in his place.
Swiger was able to gain some yards and quarterback Ryan Dunham was able to complete some passes, but the Yellow Jackets were inconsistent on offense. They committed four turnovers, and Dunham was sacked for big losses on scrambles several times.
It’s the third low-scoring game for the squad, which scored 22 points and 34 points, respectively, in its first two games. Sidney finished with 104 yards of offense.
“They had a good game plan against us,” Sidney coach Adam Doenges said. “I thought we had a good game plan coming in but we had to make some adjustments. It just didn’t work. Their five front gave us some fits in the passing game. Their defensive ends were tall and lean, and getting some passes and screens, stuff that we’re good at, were tough to get going on the outside.
“We had to get some things going over the middle, but then they brought some good pressure, and we didn’t have time. When we did have time, we didn’t make some catches we probably should have made. It’s not one thing or the other, it’s just we’re not clicking like we were the first couple weeks. We’ve got to get some things cleaned up, sustain some drives and put some points on the board.”
One big mishap happened on the first play of the third quarter when Sidney was set to receive the opening kickoff.
Xenia recovered the kickoff at Sidney’s 2-yard line and quarterback Brett Russell scored on the next play to extend the lead to 14-0 with 11:55 left in the third quarter.
“We had a pretty good halftime,” Doenges said. “We were in the game and the kids were feeling pretty good about themselves. We’re making adjustments and we’re making changes, and that’s just one of those things that happen.
“You go over things like that weekly, but it just happened. It’s obviously not the way you want to start the second half. I though the kids responded well after that, particularly on defense. Just too many mistakes that really, really cost us tonight.”
A fumble by Swiger later ended a drive at midfield. The Yellow Jackets were able to get the ball deep in Xenia territory later in the third quarter after the Buccaneers fumbled a punt. Sidney lost 20 yards after that on a sack and had to punt.
“Jaden did a nice job this week with E.J. out,” Doenges said. “He had to be the workhorse. We repped some other kids this week, but he has the most experience to come in in a spot like this. He’s a big kid and a tough kid and has grown a lot in the first four or five weeks of the season. Hopefully we can get E.J. back next week, but Jaden’s going to continue to grow and be a good football player.”
The Buccaneers added late insurance when Kevin Johnson scored on a 29-yard run with 5:43 left in the fourth to boost the lead to 20-0 after a missed extra point.
The Buccaneers finished with 220 yards of offense, which is their lowest since they had 215 in a season-opening loss to Beavercreek. They had averaged 399.3 yards per game in their last three games.
“I thought we did some not things on defense,” Doenges said. “I don’t know what the yards ended up with, but they were rolling well over 300 yards a game, and I thought we were able to slow them. I thought our defensive staff did a nice job with the game plan this week.”
Dunham completed 6-of-19 passes for 33 yards and had two interceptions. He finished with negative-31 rushing yards due to being sacked several times. Swiger finished with 94 rushing yards on 17 carries.
Both teams struggled to get going on offense early as they combined for five first downs in the first quarter.
The Buccaneers found life late in the quarter, though, when Russell threw a 34-yard touchdown pass to Cole English with 21 seconds left to put the squad up 7-0. It was the first pass attempt of the game for the team and their first TD pass of the season.
Sidney drove into the red zone once in the second quarter but turned the ball over on downs. Xenia never got past Sidney’s 45 in the quarter.
The Yellow Jackets will resume MVL play next week when they return to Sidney Memorial Stadium to host Fairborn.
Reach Bryant Billing at 937-538-4818, or follow @SidneyOHSports on Twitter and @BryantBillingSDN on Facebook.