SIDNEY — Sidney couldn’t hold on to a first-half lead and lost 34-20 to Tippecanoe in a Miami Valley League game on Friday at Sidney Memorial Stadium.
The Yellow Jackets built a 13-10 lead by halftime but lost yardage on their first three drives in the second half. Tippecanoe capitalized on the resulting short fields and scored two touchdowns and a field goal to take a 27-13 lead.
A failed fake punt attempt by Sidney led to another quick Tipp TD midway through the fourth to seal the win. Sidney cut the final gap after recovering a late fumble and returning it for a touchdown.
“We have to be able to put some drives together,” Sidney coach Adam Doenges said. “We don’t have to necessarily score each time, but we have to at least move the ball to midfield so we can maybe start our next offensive possession at midfield.
“We just weren’t able to do that tonight. We couldn’t get that ball across midfield. We struggled with field position all night. They have a great kicker, so we were starting every drive at the 20. That fake punt was a bad call on my part. That put us in a bad spot. I thought we needed a spark. We didn’t have the right personnel.”
Sidney outgained Tippecanoe 320 yards to 266 and forced two turnovers. But the Yellow Jackets couldn’t get going offensively in the second half and had some problems in the first half, too. They were 5 for 14 on third-down conversion attempts and 2 for 4 on fourth-down attempts.
“I still think we improved from last week and I still think this is a good football team,” Doenges said. “I still think there are wins here. We just have to keep getting better and see how the season progresses.”
Sidney went three-and-out on its first drive in the third quarter, and the Red Devils drove and scored on a 6-yard TD run by Xavier Jones with 7:35 left to take a 17-13 lead.
Sidney lost yardage on its next drive and punted. The Red Devils took over at Sidney’s 43-yard line after a decent return and a penalty and scored shortly after when Liam Poronsky threw a 29-yard touchdown pass to Evan Liette with 1:29 left.
Sidney again lost yardage and punted, and Tipp took over at midfield. The Yellow Jackets stopped Tipp on a third down at the 24-yard line, but Jackson Kleather made a 41-yard field goal with 10:51 left to increase the lead to 27-13.
Sidney turned it over on downs deep in its own territory after the fake punt, and Jones scored on a 3-yard TD run with 7:03 left to push the lead to 34-13.
“We anticipated some of the things they were going to try to do to us on offense and defense and I thought we had some good counters to it, but at the end of the day, we just didn’t play well enough,” Doenges said.
“I’m not happy with some of the calls I made personally. We’re going to have to go back and watch the film and learn from it.”
Sidney got a drive going in the final minutes but turned it over on downs.
The squad managed to score with eight seconds left, though. Myles Vordemark forced a fumble and Sam New recovered and returned 3 yards for a TD with eight seconds left.
The squads struggled on offense early, but an interception jump started Tippecanoe’s offense.
The Red Devils pinned Sidney at its own 7 on a punt late in the first quarter. Shortly after, Maddox Sivon intercepted a Tucker Herron pass and returned it to the 32.
The squad drove quickly and scored when Poronsky ran in from 8 yards out with 4:47 left. The extra-point attempt was good and gave Tippecanoe a 7-0 lead.
“They’re a good football team,” Doenges said. “We knew they can do some things that are going to give us problems on offense and defense. But at the end of the night, they just played better than us.”
Sidney responded with a lengthy drive and scored on the second play of the second quarter when Sam Reynolds caught a long TD pass from Herron. The extra-point attempt was missed, which allowed the Red Devils to keep a lead at 7-6.
The teams exchanged punts, then Tippecanoe drove deep into Sidney territory. After an initial TD signal on a pass was overruled by the officiating crew due to the ball touching the ground, Kleather made a 28-yard field goal with 4:42 left to take a 10-6 lead.
But Sidney scored by the end of the half.
Reynolds caught a long pass to move the Yellow Jackets into the red zone, then Julius Spradling caught a pass that was tipped by a Tipp defender and scored from 11 yards out with 1:25 left. Joey Flynn made the extra-point attempt to give Sidney a 13-10 lead with 1:25 left.
The Red Devils drove into Sidney territory in the final minute — thanks in part to a pair of pass interference penalties — but Jy Foster-Wheeler intercepted a pass at Sidney’s 20 to end the drive and preserve the lead at halftime.
Sidney is scheduled to travel to Greenville for an MVL crossover game next Friday.
Contact Bryant Billing at (937) 538-4818, or follow @SidneyOHSports on Twitter and @BryantBillingSDN on Facebook.