Sidney will wrap up the season on Friday the same way it started — preparing for a familiar opponent while not knowing entirely what to expect.
That’s something the Yellow Jackets have grown accustomed to.
Sidney (5-4) is scheduled to host rival Troy (5-2) for a Miami Valley League contest at Sidney Memorial Stadium. It’s one of several intriguing matchups featuring area teams in Week 10, which will be the final game for Sidney and a couple of other teams.
The Yellow Jackets and Anna, which lost playoff games two weeks ago, are playing their final games this week. Friday night is guaranteed to be the end of the postseason for Fort Loramie or New Bremen, which are facing off in a Division VII regional semifinal.
Friday’s MVL matchup will be Troy’s first game since Oct. 9, when it beat Columbus Franklin Heights 49-6 in a playoff game. The Trojans had a player test positive for COVID-19 a few days later and haven’t played since. They resumed practice earlier this week.
It’s the second time this season Sidney is facing a team coming off of a COVID-19 shutdown. West Carrollton played its first game in three weeks on Sept. 25 in Sidney, which the Yellow Jackets won 32-20.
“It’s definitely weird, and goes right in with playing New Richmond on a couple days’ notice and playing Greenville to open the season,” Doenges said. “Week 1 it was weird with not having any film to go on, and now we don’t have anything recent to go on (for Troy). It’s been a weird year.
“But it’s just one of those things that you figure out and go with what you’ve got. At the same time, maybe Troy’s a little rusty. What they probably are is very well-rested and ready to play.”
The Trojans have averaged an MVL-best 377.3 yards per game and 24 points per game.
Sophomore running back Nick Kawecki has rushed for 729 yards and four TDs. He averages 9.9 yards per carry.
“He’s an explosive back,” Doenges said. “He’s very, very explosive with big-play potential. He’s just a sophomore, but he doesn’t run like a sophomore. He runs very, very confidently. Though I think I could run very confidently behind their offensive line.”
Almost all of Troy’s offensive lineman weigh over 300 pounds. The group is led by senior Dawson Hildebrand, who transferred from Newton to Troy last year. Hildebrand (6-foot-3, 332 pounds) gave a verbal commitment to Bowling Green earlier this year.
“They have some ballers up there,” Doenges said. “Hildebrand is a monster, and there’s four up there. They all weigh from 280 to 320. And they’re not short; they’ve got some height to them.
“… If I was off for two weeks, I’d probably try to line up with those guys and run toe-to-toe right at us.”
The squad also has another big running option in 6-foot-2, 275-pound La’Manual Kemp-Short, who has gained 509 rushing yards and scored nine TDs. He averages 6.8 yards per carry.
Junior quarterback Josh Mayfield has thrown for 719 yards with nine touchdowns and three interceptions and has run for 381 yards and six TDs.
“You can’t pay too much attention to their run because Mayfield is a threat to throw it,” Doenges said. “They have one really nice receiver in (Nicholas Barr), who has just about all their catches. They get the ball to him a lot on play action.”
Sidney senior quarterback Cedric Johnson has thrown for an MVL-best 1,499 yards this season and has thrown for 10 touchdowns with five interceptions. Senior receiver Jacob Wheeler leads the league with 484 receiving yards while senior Avante Martin has 396 receiving yards to his credit.
Johnson, Wheeler and Martin are three of 15 seniors on the roster.
“It’d be really nice to have our seniors go out with a win and have a winning season for the third time in six years,” Doenges said.
Win or lose on Friday, Doenges will be happy if the squad can get in a 10th game.
“That’s something we’ve wanted to do since May, June, when we first got our guys back together (after a long no-contact period),” Doenges said. “We made it here. We wanted to safely and responsibly get to 10-plus games for our guys. We’re not quite there yet, but we’re here in Week 10.
“… Through it all this season, the kids have been fantastic. I’ve been very proud of them for handling it. I’m not sure how I would have been as a teenager going through all this, but our guys have been fantastic.”
New Bremen at Fort Loramie
New Bremen (6-2) will travel to Redskin Stadium for a D-VII, Region 28 semifinal on Friday.
Senior quarterback Mitchel Hays has thrown for 974 yards and 12 touchdowns with two interceptions and run for 526 yards with nine TDs. Senior Zach Bertke has run for 520 yards and four TDs while senior Dan Homan has caught 24 passes for 405 yards with seven TDs.
The Cardinals have been stout defensively this season and have given up an average of 104.6 rushing yards per game.
Fort Loramie will try to keep its stout rushing attack from last week going. Sam Barhorst ran for 147 yards and one TD while Jacob Sherman ran for 112 yards and one TD. The pair have seen much more playing time the last three games due to injuries.
Senior quarterback Collin Moore has thrown for 1,356 yards and 20 touchdowns with nine interceptions and run for 741 yards and 10 TDs. Sophomore receiver Logan Eilerman has caught 42 passes for 626 yards with seven TDs.
Reach Bryant Billing at 937-538-4818, or follow @SidneyOHSports on Twitter and @BryantBillingSDN on Facebook.