VANDALIA — A week after an explosive offensive battle, Sidney fought with Vandalia-Butler in a defensive battle on Friday.
The Yellow Jackets’ defense came up with the most stops in crucial situations.
Sidney survived a challenge in the second half and beat the Aviators 12-6 at Memorial Stadium to earn its second consecutive Miami Valley League crossover victory.
Butler drove into Sidney territory with under four minutes left. The Aviators burned two timeouts as they were facing a fourth-and-four.
Sidney sophomore defensive back Kevin Marcus intercepted a pass by Mason Reckner, the Aviators’ backup quarterback, near Sidney’s 45-yard line with 2:42 left.
It was a big play by Marcus, who was a force for Sidney’s defense after playing junior varsity last weekend.
“He had a rough time the first couple of weeks,” Sidney coach Adam Doenges said. “He just needed to get his confidence back up. We took him out last week, and he played really, really well on the JV offense and defense. He got his confidence back up. Sometimes, sophomores just need to know that they go out there and do good things.
“He played very, very well tonight. He did a nice job on some checks and some calls, and then that interception on a fourth down was pretty awesome.”
The Yellow Jackets faced a fourth-and-two at midfield with 1:09 left. Jy-Foster Wheeler took a handoff, ran right and gained five yards to give Sidney a fresh set of downs and seal the win.
“We had a couple of different options there on that fourth down,” Doenges said. “We had some timeouts and could have burned them and tried to get (Butler) to jump. There was some discussion, but I looked in everybody’s eyes, and everybody wanted to go for it.
“It was the right call. We got the look that we wanted, we got to the edge, and that sealed the game.”
Directing the defense on the field again was junior middle linebacker Myles Vordemark, who has been the squad’s leading tackler the last few years.
Vordemark missed some tackles in the fourth quarter against Greenville that week that contributed to the squad losing a 35-14 lead in the last eight minutes and having to battle it out in double overtime.
“It was really neat last week after that win, the senior text group chat we have, we were talking about how proud we were (of beating Greenville), then a couple of guys said they needed to play better, and Myles was one of those,” Doenges said.
“We put a lot of pressure on him to make a lot of our tackles by trying to keep them clean, and last week, he said, ‘It was my fault; I shouldn’t have let that game get to where it was, because I didn’t tackle well enough in the fourth quarter.’
“He took that to heart and played a lot better this week with his feet, coming to balance and doing a good job wrapping people up.”
Sidney consistently came up with big defensive plays on third and fourth downs and mostly prevented Butler from making any big offensive gains. The squad forced two turnovers on downs in the red zone in the first half.
“They made some nice adjustments throughout the game,” Doenges said of Butler. “We had to keep making adjustments on our defensive side of the ball. The kids kept making those adjustments. They were in the right position, and I was really proud of the plays they made.
“Making big plays on third and fourth downs is something we haven’t been able to do. We forced a few more three-and-outs than we had. Overall, I’m just proud of the kids. They did a great job with the game plan this week, knowing that we wanted to bring pressure at some points and not in others.
“We put a lot of pressure on our secondary, and they did a great job.”
The Yellow Jackets (2-2, 2-1 MVL Valley Division) are scheduled to travel Piqua (3-1, 2-1) next Friday. The Indians suffered their first loss of the season on Friday; they lost 28-0 at Xenia.
“We’re going to enjoy this win and feel good about it, then we’ll start figuring out Saturday night, Sunday morning what to do to (for Piqua),” Doenges said.
Sidney led 12-0 at halftime, but Butler battled back in the third quarter.
The Aviators drove inside the 10, but a bad snap resulted in an about 15-yard loss, and junior Mitchell Davis knocked away a pass on fourth down for a turnover on downs.
The Yellow Jackets fumbled at their own 31 with 6:27 left in the third, and Butler drove down and scored when starting quarterback Luke Seibert ran in from 1 yard out with the help of the squad’s offensive line. Seibert was injured on the play.
Sidney deflected the extra-point attempt to keep the gap at six points with 2:45 left.
Sidney fielded a short punt at its own 43 and turned it over on downs at Butler’s 29 with 11:22 left in the fourth.
The Aviators went three-and-out and punted, but Sidney fumbled at Butler’s 15 with 7:38 left. The Yellow Jackets forced a punt but then went three-and-out and punted to Butler’s 10 with 4:45 left.
The Aviators drove to midfield on a couple of big plays before Marcus’ interception.
“It was nice that, for the most part, we put together four complete quarters,” Doenges said. “I know our offense was a little bit disappointed, but they did what they needed to do. They picked up first downs when we needed it and helped us seal the game.”
The Yellow Jackets’ first half didn’t start well.
Sidney got the opening kickoff, achieved one first down and punted. The punt only went to Butler’s 47, and the Aviators methodically drove into Sidney territory.
But after driving inside the 5, Sidney stopped Butler on four straight runs, with Mitchell Davis making the stopping tackle on fourth down to force a turnover on downs.
The Yellow Jackets again got one first down and punted, and Butler got the ball at Sidney’s 45.
But again, Sidney forced a turnover on downs. Brice Hughes sacked Seibert on fourth down to give the Yellow Jackets the ball at their own 30 early in the second quarter.
Sidney drove and scored when Tucker Herron threw a short pass over the middle to Julius Spradling, who outraced Butler defenders on a 33-yard TD reception with 7:50 left. Joey Flynn’s extra-point attempt was blocked, but Sidney took a 6-0 lead.
Luke Carter sacked Seibert on a third down at midfield to end Butler’s next drive. The Aviators punted to Sidney’s 30.
Sidney again drove and scored when Herron threw a 29-yard TD pass to Sam Reynolds with 1:15 left. The Yellow Jackets tried a run on a two-point conversion attempt but were stopped just short of the goal line, which kept the score at 12-0.
Foster-Wheeler recovered a fumble just before halftime for Sidney. The squad tried for a field goal, but Flynn’s attempt fell just short as time expired.
Sidney is scheduled to travel to Piqua to battle for the Battered Helmet next Friday.
Contact Bryant Billing at (937) 538-4818, or follow @SidneyOHSports on Twitter and @BryantBillingSDN on Facebook.