At first, it may not add up.
The Sidney Yellow Jackets are 4-5, a total of nine wins and losses, with two contests remaining on their 10-game regular season schedule — tonight and Oct. 22. Next Friday, Sidney completes game number “eleven.”
Or, more appropriately stated, Sidney records its eleventh “game result” a week from tonight, with only 10 contests actually played.
Confusing? Not really. The math is spot on, and is in the Jackets’ favor. Sidney earned a “1-0 forfeiture win” over Fairborn last Friday, according to Miami Valley League (MVL) rules, while losing at Fort Loramie on the same night, and, thus, sits atop the Valley Division of the MVL, tied with Xenia and Stebbins, 5-3, this evening’s opponent. All three schools sport league marks of 4-3. Fairborn and West Carrollton are 0-7.
Interestingly, Stebbins has been on the other end of a forfeiture, dropping a 1-0 decision to Vandalia Butler on Sept. 24, as noted on the MVL website, which is mvlathletics.com.
So, as a result, despite some head-scratching calculation, the challenge for Sidney is quite simple. Win out and win the division!
High school football leagues around Ohio have handled scheduled, but cancelled, games differently. In the MVL, the consequence results in a W and an L, but has no bearing on the statewide computer rankings determined by joeeitel.com. The Coronavirus and the importance of following specific quarantine protocols have caused schools to miss hundreds of football games statewide since Aug. 20.
While Jack Kramer of ScoresBroadcast.com was away recovering from oral surgery during a short vacation, the free online play-by-play site missed out on the Redskins-Jackets tilt on Oct. 8. It returns with online coverage of Sidney versus Stebbins. Radio coverage is provided by WMVR, 105.5 TAM FM, via a simulcast of the online audio stream.
Adam Doenges, 11th-year head coach at Sidney, and Greg Bonifay, 5th-year head coach at Stebbins, are interviewed by Kramer in the pre-game segment at 6:25 p.m. Kickoff is at 7.
The Jackets have been jinxed by Stebbins in the schools’ only three meetings ever. The Indians won a trio of games in less than 12-months’ time in 2019 and 2020 by a grand total of five points. In the playoffs last year, Stebbins eked out a 24-23 overtime thriller.
So, revenge is on the minds of the Yellow Jackets. More importantly, a title. If Sidney takes care of business on Oct. 15 and 22, it conquers a division championship.
Coach Doenges commented, “It’s in our hands. The division crown is there for us to win. Moving forward, we have to play very well these last two weeks much like we played against Butler, West Carrollton, and the first part of the Fort Loramie game.”
In a 10-minute span against Sidney, the Redskins overcame a 7-0 deficit and racked up three touchdowns and three two-point conversions.
Jackets quarterback Donavin Johnson zipped for more than 100 yards on the ground versus Fort Loramie. He is now fully healthy, as are junior running back Martez Harris and senior lineman Evan Kennedy, who both missed last Friday’s game against the Redskins.
“We are healthy for this stretch run of very good football. Our club has been resilient all season long. It fights to the finish,” Doenges beamed.
“Our defense has to be rock solid versus Stebbins,” he continued. “The ‘D,’ our offense, and special teams have clicked at the same time during many quarters of play this season.”
And they all need to click in unison and control the clock tonight, because Stebbins moves the ball in big chunks and scores points in clusters. Its explosive attack has tallied 100-plus points more than Sidney on the season so far.
Indians senior quarterback Nathan Keller leads the MVL with nearly 1500 passing yards. Tailback Omar Holloway has scooted for nearly 700 yards rushing. Flankers Adrian Norton and Rayvonn Harris have combined for more than 1,000 yards receiving. Left-footed kicker Shawn Dozier has a strong leg and has smacked home a field goal from over 48 yards away.
Sidney’s Johnson has recorded a flashy quarterback rating of 105.3. Wide-out Sam Reynolds has hauled in 31 catches. Defenders Myles Vordemark, Chris Hudgins and Jaden Swiger have rolled up more than 50 tackles each. Center Brennan Barnes has keyed the protection calls on the offensive line and has excelled in his leadership skills.
The Jackets, 15th in the Division II, Region 8 computer rankings, are nearly a full point ahead of Little Miami and Loveland, which are parked at 16 and 17. The top 16 schools play week eleven to kick off the post-season.
However, with a win or two to close out the campaign, the Jackets can secure, for sure, a playoff berth. And, at the same time, advance several notches and draw a more manageable first round opponent.
Xenia and Lima Senior, both just ahead of Sidney, can be reached. The Buccaneers and Spartans are only a couple computer points up on the Jackets.
So, Sidney, win! As we know, the wins, as well as the points, can add up.