WEST CARROLLTON — After sputtering on offense for much of the last five games, Sidney ran all over the field in a Miami Valley League game on Friday and racked up the most yards West Carrollton has given up to on opponent this season.
Though West Carrollton was able to move the ball at times, Sidney’s defense came up with several big stops and turnovers and cruised to a 49-25 victory at DOC Stadium.
The Yellow Jackets (3-5, 2-3 MVL Valley Division) will continue league play next week when they return to Sidney Memorial Stadium to host Stebbins. They’re aiming to finish .500 for a third consecutive season, which the program hasn’t done since 1974-76.
“That would be big for us,” Sidney sophomore running back E.J. Davis said. “That’d be something for our senior class. It hasn’t happened in the last 40-something years, so we’re just doing it for our seniors so they have something good to leave out of high school with.”
Davis was a big reason the Yellow Jackets’ offense moved well on Friday. He amassed 281 rushing yards and scored four touchdowns on 23 carries and also caught an 8-yard touchdown pass.
He credited the team’s offensive line and receiving corps for helping with the performance.
“I told our line to keep blocking and working hard and for our receivers to keep stalk blocking, and it paid off,” Davis said.
Sidney junior backup quarterback Cedric Johnson started in place of senior Ryan Dunham, who was injured in a game against Fairborn two weeks ago. Dunham played a bit on Friday, but the squad found success running the ball with Johnson under center. It amassed 411 total yards of offense, 402 of which came on the ground.
Though the Pirates (1-7, 1-4) have struggled on defense and given up 34 or more points in five of their first seven games, they hadn’t yet allowed over 390 yards to an opponent. It’s the first time Sidney has surpassed 400 yards in a game and the fourth time they’ve surpassed 300 yards this season.
“We wanted to run the football and get back to what was working for us at the beginning of the year and do some things that maybe we got away from,” Sidney coach Adam Doenges said. “We did a lot of two-back stuff and had Lathan Jones in the backfield (with Davis and Johnson). Lathan did a nice job of running the football, and that also gave E.J. Davis to go block. Let alone running the football, he’s a tremendous blocker.”
Sidney led 21-13 at halftime, and its offensive success grew in the second half. Davis scored four of his five touchdowns in the half to help the Yellow Jackets pull away, that last one of which he surpassed 1,000 rushing yards for the season on. He has 1,050 rushing yards this season and is the first sophomore in program history to have 1,000 yards in a season.
“That says a lot to him and how special of a player he is,” Doenges said. “That also says a lot for our O-line, a lot to our quarterback and a lot to our receivers who have to block and stuff.”
The Yellow Jackets held West Carrollton to 324 yards — over 200 less than the squad amassed in a 39-34 victory over Piqua two weeks ago at DOC Stadium. Sophomore quarterback Kamuary Cleveland completed 18-of-26 passes for 213 yards and ran for 82 yards on 14 carries.
Sidney also came up with a pair of turnovers in the first half and held the Pirates to a combined 9-of-10 on third- and fourth-down conversion tries.
“We bent a little bit, but when he had to, we clamped down,” Doenges said. “Their (quarterback) is a special kid and is going to be a problem the next few years. (West Carrollton coach) Dion Black is a great coach and is going to do a great job here and hold these kids to a high standard. This league’s going to be a lot of fun in the coming years.”
Sidney recovered an onside kick at its own 45-yard line at the start of the third quarter and didn’t take long to extend the lead.
After a series of long runs by Johnson, Jones and Davis, Johnson scrambled and threw a short pass to Davis, who ran in along the home sideline on an 8-yard touchdown reception to give the Yellow Jackets a 15-point lead with 8:28 left in the third quarter.
After a decent kickoff return, the Pirates answered on a 2-yard TD run by Tyron Darby but couldn’t find the end zone again on a two-point conversion try and trailed 28-19.
Sidney again took to the ground on its next drive, and Davis broke free and scored after breaking a couple of tackles on a 32-yard yard to increase the lead to 35-19 with 3:47.
West Carrollton responded again on its next drive. After sophomore quarterback Kamuary Cleveland converted two third-and-longs to move the ball into Sidney territory, Darby capped off the drive with a 2-yard TD run. The Pirates couldn’t find the end zone on another two-point conversion try and trailed 35-25 with 11:00 left in the fourth.
Sidney methodically drove on its next drive, and Davis scored on an 11-yard TD run with 6:47 left to boost the lead to 42-25.
After West Carrollton turned the ball over on downs at Sidney’s 15, Davis broke free and raced up the visiting sideline on the next play on an 85-yard run to finish the game’s scoring.
Jones finished with 75 rushing yards on 11 carries for Sidney and Johnson finished with 51 yards on seven carries.
West Carrollton turned the ball over on downs on the first drive of the game at Sidney’s 44. The Yellow Jackets quickly drove down on runs by Johnson, Davis and Jones and scored on a 16-yard run by Jones with 5:14 left in the first quarter. Hallie Truesdale kicked the extra point to give Sidney a 7-0 lead.
An onside kick attempt on the ensuing kickoff backfired on Sidney. Darby picked up the ball, turned toward the visitor’s sideline and ran 60 yards for a touchdown with 5:04 left to tie it 7-7.
The Yellow Jackets punted on their next drive, but Clay Carter recovered a fumble at West Carrollton’s 22. Johnson scored on a 22-yard run up the middle on the next play to give Sidney a 14-7 lead with 54 seconds left in the first.
The Yellow Jackets blocked a 32-yard field goal attempt at the end of West Carrollton’s next drive but went three-and-out on their next possession.
After the Pirates turned the ball over on downs at Sidney’s 19 with 4:17 left in the second, Sidney followed with another three-and-out and punted. West Carrollton drove into the red zone in two plays, but Cam Vordemark intercepted a pass and returned it about 50 yards to the 43.
Davis took a handoff on the next play, turned left to the home sideline and raced 43 yards for a touchdown to give Sidney a 21-7 lead with 2:08 left in the second.
West Carrollton drove down and scored with nine seconds left on a 2-yard run by Darby but missed the extra point and trailed 21-13.
Reach Bryant Billing at 937-538-4818, or follow @SidneyOHSports on Twitter and @BryantBillingSDN on Facebook.