It all began to in the final week of the 1956 high school football season, the first for former Ohio State star Ollie Cline as Sidney’s head coach. His Yellow Jackets went to Greenville and prevailed 20-6 to bring home a new traveling trinket, the Little Brown Jug. Last Friday the journey was repeated as the visitors sought to retain the Jug, which they did 49-48 in exciting walkoff fashion in double overtime.
Yes, this tradition was born 66 years ago but it hasn’t been awarded anywhere near that number of times. The Jug got lost in 1971 and didn’t resurface for about 30 years during an era when the series had some gaps due to the Green Wave changing leagues. That intriguing story has appeared in print many times and can be easily located via internet search.
Sidney 7 and 8
For the past decade, participation levels have been largely positive within the Sidney football program. However, the 2022 middle schoolers are an exception with low numbers at both the seventh and eighth grades with about 20 in each class and a lack of balance among position groups. Scheduling creativity while combining forces enabled the season to begin but not with the usual separate games of four quarters each.
The issue has been met head-on in both the short and long term. First, coaches sought extra players by having the current squads recruit their classmate friends. This has met some success with the new participants getting acclimated in time to begin appearing in separate games next week. That will take care of 2022 but what does the future hold?
With the blessing of SHS football and athletics, the Vespa-QB booster club has taken charge of the fifth and sixth grade developmental league, recruited additional qualified coaches, and taken aim at expansion to younger levels. I applaud all of these efforts.
Now a senior at Central Florida, Sidney product Isaiah Bowser opened his final campaign with a pair of touchdown runs in a win over South Carolina State eight nights ago. Many UCF games are televised nationally including a few that have already been announced.
Friday September 9 (tonight) the Knights host Louisville at 7:30 on ESPN2. A week and a day later, they visit Florida Atlantic on CBS Sports Network. The UCF-Temple clash will also be on the tube. An October 29 outing with Cincinnati in Orlando is almost a lock for a nice TV slot.
Injuries limited Bowser a year ago but he rallied to full strength in a decisive bowl win over Florida as Isaiah rushed for 155 yards and a pair of TD’s.
Now here’s your obscure historical chronology for the day. The University of Central Florida is 23 years younger than the Little Brown Jug mentioned above.
Sports Extra appears each Friday. Dave Ross has been joined by Brett Bickel as historians of the Yellow Jackets. Brett’s book on SHS football from 1997-2021 is headed to the printer.