GREENVILLE — Sidney rallied to take a late lead in a Miami Valley League game on Friday, but Greenville came up with a big late drive to re-take control and win 19-14 at Miami Valley Hospital North Stadium at Harmon Field.
It was the final regular season game for Sidney, which finishes 3-7. It was the first victory for Greenville over Sidney since 2015 and earned the squad possession of the Little Brown Jug for the next year.
Sidney took a lead on a halfback pass from sophomore running back E.J. Davis to senior receiver Lathan Jones with 3:36 left in the fourth quarter but the Green Wave scored on their next drive when Tyler Beyke threw a 23-yard touchdown pass to John Butsch with 1:46 left.
“It was a really good Week 10 game,” Sidney coach Adam Doenges said. “It got kind of sloppy here and there, but this is a rivalry, and guys were getting after it a little bit there in the second half.
“Once again, we couldn’t sustain good enough drives on offense and we couldn’t get off the field enough on defense. We couldn’t get enough three-and-outs on defense, and the offense couldn’t sustain drives long enough.”
It was one of several close losses this season for the Yellow Jackets, which lost four games by eight points or less.
“That’s something we’re going to have to figure out,” Doenges said.
The Yellow Jackets will lose 15 seniors to graduation, including multiple-year starters in Jones, defensive back Darren Taborn, linebacker Ryan Cagle, quarterback/punter Ryan Dunham and kicker Hallie Truesdale. They’ll return most of their starters, including Davis, a sophomore, who led the MVL this year with 1,329 rushing yards.
“I really appreciate our seniors,” Doenges said. “Those 15 guys didn’t have the greatest year when they were on the freshmen team, but they continued to battle and show up every day for four years and worked their tails off. They’re a blue-collar group and a fantastic group of guys. I wish we could have sent them off in a better way and I really appreciate what they’ve done for this program.”
Greenville led Sidney 13-7 at halftime. The Yellow Jackets started with the ball in the second half, but junior quarterback Cedric Johnson had a pass intercepted by Marcus Woods.
The Green Wave turned the ball over on downs, but Sidney couldn’t do much and was forced to punt with 2:17 left in the third. Greenville picked up a couple of first downs but punted to Sidney’s 10-yard line with 9:32 left in the fourth.
Davis had a long run to pick up a first down near midfield, then picked up another in Greenville territory. A Greenville penalty moved the ball to the 25-yard line. Davis picked up another first down on a short run, then came up with a big play on a third down.
Johnson gave a handoff to Davis, who ran right toward the home sideline. He then fired an 18-yard touchdown pass in the back of the end zone to Jones with 3:36 left. Truesdale hit the extra point down the middle to give Sidney a 14-13 lead.
The Green Wave quickly drove down and scored on a 23-yard touchdown pass from Beyke to Butsch with 1:46 left. Butsch caught the pass while leaping and falling on his back. Greenville missed a two-point conversion try and led 19-14.
Sidney recovered an onside kick attempt at Greenville’s 47 but turned the ball over on downs after four incomplete passes.
Greenville started with the ball and fumbled on the first play of the game and recovered at its 14. The Green Wave punted to their own 43, and Sidney scored on the first play on a 43-yard pass from Johnson to Jones.
Curtis Spangler intercepted a Beyke pass to end the Green Wave’s second drive, but the Yellow Jackets went three-and-out and punted.
Sidney pinned Greenville back in a second-and-18, but Beyke threw a long pass along the visitor’s sideline to Butsch, who ran about 25 yards into the end zone on a 56-yard TD play to tie it 7-7 with 2:41 left.
The Yellow Jackets punted on their next drive, then Jaron Kelly intercepted a pass at the team’s own 23 along the home sideline with 8:54 left in the second. The squad went three-and-out again, but Greenville did the same and punted to Sidney’s 15.
Jones picked up two first downs on runs to move the ball in Greenville territory and Davis ran 12 yards for another first down, but Hadyn Sharp intercepted a Johnson pass and returned it to Sidney’s 33. The Green Wave scored several plays later on a 3-yard TD run by Beyke with 1:13 left. The Yellow Jackets blocked the extra point but trailed 13-7.
The Green Wave had 286 yards of offense while Sidney had 257.
Davis finished with 137 rushing yards on 23 carries. Johnson completed 3-of-9 passes for 49 yards with one TD and two interceptions. Cagle led Sidney with 13 tackles and one sack.
Beyke completed 8-of-14 passes for 123 yards with two TDs and two interceptions. The Green Wave amassed 163 rushing yards on 45 carries.
Greenville finishes 7-3 overall.
Reach Bryant Billing at 937-538-4818, or follow @SidneyOHSports on Twitter and @BryantBillingSDN on Facebook.