WEST CARROLLTON — Sidney was hoping to rebound against West Carrollton on Friday at DOC Stadium after losses to rivals Piqua and Troy the last two weeks.
The Yellow Jackets didn’t just rebound — they rejuvenated their Miami Valley League Valley Division title hopes.
Sidney scored four touchdowns in the second quarter to jumpstart a 36-6 win over the winless Pirates to improve to 3-4 overall and 3-3 in MVL play.
It was a big offensive night for Sidney following a 42-7 loss to archrival Piqua two weeks ago and a 23-6 loss to Troy last week.
“The last two weeks were definitely tough,” Sidney coach Adam Doenges said. “We told our kids that we have to continue to battle. …They did tonight.”
Senior quarterback Donavin Johnson threw one touchdown pass and ran for a TD in his first game back after missing last week’s game. Senior running back Devin Taborn scored on two TD rushes and junior RB Myles Vordemark scored on one TD run.
“Little bit of a committee (at RB) tonight,” Doenges said. “Both those guys haven’t really got a whole lot of carries this year, and both those guys did a nice job. A lot of that has to do with the guys up front, our five offensive lineman, and whoever else we have blocking. We did some nice things tonight, some things I think we can carry on as we move forward.”
Taborn and Vordemark split time at running back with E.J. Davis, who played QB last week in Johnson’s absence. Since he wasn’t playing under center, Davis was able to return to his linebacker duties on Friday and helped led a strong defensive effort.
Outside of a long TD play in the second quarter, West Carrollton struggled to move the ball. The Pirates managed 189 yards of offense and committed two turnovers in the second quarter, both of which led to Sidney TDs.
Doenges was happy with the performance, especially considering Sidney was without several players due to injuries and illness. He was especially pleased with the offensive line, which played without four-year starter Evan Kennedy, who is injured.
“I thought once we got into a rhythm, the offensive line did a nice job and started imposing their will a little bit on the defensive line,” Doenges said.
The Yellow Jackets are tied with Stebbins (4-3) for second place in MVL Valley Division standings; Xenia (5-2) is in first place with a 4-2 record.
Sidney is scheduled to host winless Fairborn next Friday for its homecoming game.
“We can still go for a division title and put ourselves in a position for a playoff berth,” Doenges said. “There’s still a lot of things to play for. This was a nice step in the right direction.”
The teams traded punts (or turned the ball over on downs) in the first quarter, but Sidney got going in the second.
The Yellow Jackets got the ball in the final minute of the first quarter after they blocked a 38-yard field goal try by West Carrollton.
Sidney scored 16 seconds into the second quarter. Sam Reynolds caught a pass over the middle one-handed and ran 63 yards for a TD. Zane Cline caught a two-point conversion pass from Johnson to give the squad an 8-0 lead.
“That was something we needed,” Doenges said. “It’s one of those things where it’s a long drive (from Sidney to West Carrollton), it’s late in the season, crowd’s a little smaller than we’re used to and all that kind of stuff, and we needed a spark plug to ignite us a little bit. That did it.”
The Pirates scored shortly after when Cedric Anthony took a short pass and ran 79 yards for a TD with 10:37 left to cut the gap to 8-6 after a missed extra-point attempt.
“We talked all week that they have big-play potential,” Doenges said of West Carrollton. “There’s a lot of good athletes, and any one of those guys can be a sparkplug. That could have been a moment we didn’t handle well, but I thought our kids did a nice job of handling it.”
Sidney quickly responded. The Yellow Jackets went on a long drive and scored when Taborn ran in from 4 yards out with 6:35 left. Senior kicker Carson Taylor, who missed last week’s game due to injury, kicked the extra point to push the lead to 15-6.
West Carrollton fumbled at its own 33 shortly after, and Johnson scored on an 18-yard TD run with 2:30 left to push the lead to 22-6.
The Pirates then fumbled the ensuing kickoff, and Taborn scored on a short run with 59 seconds left to increase the lead to 29-6 at halftime.
Doenges said he was happy the squad took advantage of West Carrollton’s late turnovers.
“We’ve had those opportunities before this year, but we’ve never really capitalized on picking the fumble up and taking advantage of it,” Doenges said. “I thought we did a nice job tonight of taking advantage of those situations when presented with them.”
Sidney scored on its second drive in the third quarter when Vordemark ran in from 1 yard out on a third down. Taylor kicked the extra point with 1:14 left to push the gap to 30 points and start a running clock.
Sidney amassed a season-high 320 yards of offense. Johnson completed 6-of-12 passes for 82 yards and ran for 62 yards on nine carries. Taborn ran for 67 yards on 10 carries, Davis ran for 43 yards on six carries and Vordemark ran for 28 yards on 12 carries. Reynolds caught three passes for 73 yards.
Taborn and Wyatt Biddle each had one fumble recovery. Chris Hudgins led the team with six tackles while Vordemark made 5.5.
Reach Bryant Billing at 937-538-4818, or follow @SidneyOHSports on Twitter and @BryantBillingSDN on Facebook.