SIDNEY — A mad scramble on social media helped Sidney find an opponent for its home opener on Friday only hours after its originally scheduled Miami Valley League game was canceled.
The Yellow Jackets were scheduled to host West Carrollton in an MVL Valley Division game on Friday but will instead host New Richmond for a nonconference contest. West Carrollton canceled Friday’s original scheduled game after one of its players tested positive for COVID-19.
Sidney athletic director Mitch Hoying said several people combed through social media and the Ohio High School Athletic Association’s website looking for available opponents. Coach Adam Doenges saw a social media post about New Richmond needing an opponent shortly after learning of West Carrollton’s cancelation on Tuesday.
“When we called, it went quick,” Hoying said. “They needed a game, we needed a game.
“… We’re fortunate and we’re happy about it. The mindset right now in high school athletics for nearly everyone is that we just want to get an opportunity for the kids to play. When things are normal, there can be points you bicker over that get in the way of playing games. No one’s bickering over it now because everyone knows it’s this or nothing, so we find ways to get kids playing.”
New Richmond is located next to the Ohio River in Clermont County and is about 12 miles southeast of Coney Island. The school is similarly sized to Sidney; its football program is in Division III.
New Richmond had been looking for a Week 3 opponent since Saturday when fellow Southern Buckeye Athletic and Academic Conference member Batavia canceled an originally scheduled matchup due to a COVID-19 outbreak.
New Richmond was also scheduled to have its home opener on Friday after playing SBAAC games on the road the first two weeks of the season.
“They were willing to drive up here,” Hoying said. “We’re doing some things for them, so it should be a good matchup.”
If Sidney wouldn’t have had a game Friday or would have had to travel, it would have had to wait until Sept. 25 to play a home game. It would have also scrapped plans for Friday’s game to be senior night for Sidney’s fall sports athletes.
“You’d be looking at not having a home game until Week 5,” Hoying said. “That’s problematic because our band kids haven’t had a chance to perform and our cheerleaders would have went three weeks without performing. For everything apart from football beyond the actual varsity football game, it would have put us in a bad spot to be in.”
Sidney was originally only supposed to play MVL opponents this year. Hoying said MVL commissioner Eric Spahr “jumped through a few hoops,” to help Sidney schedule a nonleague opponent and said Sidney City Schools superintendent Bob Humble gave the final go-ahead for a game against a non-MVL school to be scheduled.
West Carrollton has canceled all practices for the next two weeks and also canceled its Sept. 18 MVL contest against Xenia.
Sidney’s contest against West Carrollton could be rescheduled for late October or early November.
The OHSAA has shortened regular-season play to six weeks this year and expanded the playoffs to include all teams. Postseason play is scheduled to begin Oct. 9.
Teams will be allowed to schedule more regular-season games after they’re eliminated from the playoffs or can opt out of postseason play and schedule additional regular-season contests. Teams will be allowed to play up to 10 regular season games through Nov. 14.
Hoying said in August he was anticipating additional MVL games would be played in late October after teams are knocked out of the playoffs.
Reach Bryant Billing at 937-538-4818, or follow @SidneyOHSports on Twitter and @BryantBillingSDN on Facebook.