SIDNEY — After facing two powerhouses the first two weeks of the season, Sidney has fared better the last two weeks. An improved running ability has helped.
Sidney (2-2, 2-0 Miami Valley League) gathered 271 rushing yards and scored all six of its TDs on the ground in a 49-48 double overtime win over Greenville in Week 3 and ran for 113 yards on 30 carries in a 12-6 win over Vandalia-Butler last Friday.
The squad finished with 131 rushing yards in a Week 1 loss to Bellefontaine and 93 yards in a Week 2 loss to Tippecanoe.
“We’re getting better. It’s not where we need it to be, but it’s getting there,” Sidney coach Adam Doenges said. “We’re doing things differently with the overall scheme with what we do in the run game.
“It’s pretty different than what we’ve done. The kids are buying into it, but the nuances of where your hands have to get to, where your hips have to get to, what hole do you have to get to, is stuff we’re still learning.”
After two lopsided losses to start the season, Doenges said the squad worked hard to earn wins the last two weeks.
“It’s a big boost, especially when you’re going back to school,” Doenges said. “We’re well aware our first two games are against pretty good opponents. Bellefontaine and Tipp are a combined 7-1 and are going to win a lot of games. We prepared for that in scrimmages by playing Northmont and Chaminade-Julienne, who are a combined 7-1.
“It would have been nice to have won one or both of those first two games, but we needed to improve. We need to see improvement week in and week out. We continue to see improvement and are getting better, but we’re by far not close to playing our best football yet.”
Sidney entered the season relatively inexperienced. A good portion of its upperclassmen starters were in their positions for the first time, and many sophomores were starting for the first time as well. Doenges said they’ve shown much improvement over the first four weeks, including sophomore running back Isaiah Foster.
Foster has run for a team-best 206 yards and two TDs on 51 carries. Martez Harris has run for 146 yards and two TDs on 32 carries and Jy Foster-Wheeler has run for 165 yards and two TDs on 22 carries.
Doenges credited all three for helping to improve the run game, as well as junior quarterback Tucker Herron, who is a first-year starter.
Herron has completed 58.7 percent of his passes for 611 yards with five TDs and six interceptions. He didn’t throw an interception last week for the first time this season and finished 9-of-17 for 165 yards with two TDs.
“He has a lot of pressure on him,” Doenges said. “He does a lot of reading as to when he can pull it, throw it. A lot of pre- and post-snap reads. …You have to have the right mindset to play that position, and he definitely does.”
The Yellow Jackets will play on the road for the third consecutive week when they travel to archrival Piqua on Friday.
The Indians (3-1, 1-1) suffered their first league loss since 2019 when they fell 28-0 at Xenia last week. They managed 122 yards of offense in the loss while the Buccaneers racked up 342.
Piqua started the season with a 55-0 win over Dayton Belmont, a 58-0 win over West Carrollton and a 59-0 win over archrival Troy.
“I’ve never seen a team win 50-plus to 0 the first three weeks, then lose the following week like that,” Doenges said. “It’s different watching the film, because you see them completely dominate the first three games, and last week was kind of the opposite.
“… We anticipate they’re going to continue to do what they do, and that’s what they do every year. They have a big, physical offensive line, a very aggressive defensive line, and they play very, very sound behind that defensive line.”
Piqua has forced nine turnovers this season, eight of which came in the first three weeks.
Senior quarterback Brady Ouhl has thrown for 429 yards and six TDs without an interception. Sam Schmiesing has run for 260 and four TDs on 37 carries. Schmiesing leads the squad with 33.5 tackles.
“Brady Ouhl is one of the most consistent and efficient quarterbacks I’ve seen in a while,” Doenges said. “He runs the offense well and makes his reads well.
“It’s definitely a tough matchup. There’s a reason why they were a state-ranked team going into (Xenia) last week, and they’re still going to be hard to compete with all year.”
Riverside looking to keep winning streak alive
The Pirates (2-2) had tough competition the first two weeks but are hoping for a better result against a strong squad this week.
Riverside lost 36-14 to Ansonia in Week 1 and 38-0 in Springfield Northeastern in Week 2. It wasn’t the start hoped for by the Pirates, which returned several starters on both sides of the ball.
But Ansonia and Northeastern are undefeated heading into Week 5 and have continued to win, mostly by large margins.
Riverside has played similarly well to its first two opponents the last two weeks. The Pirates shut out neighboring rival Indian Lake 24-0 in Week 3 and opened Three Rivers Conference play with a 34-7 win at Tipp City Bethel last week.
The squad has a key early-season TRC game this week when it travels to Dayton Northridge (4-0). The Polar Bears improved to 4-0 when they defeated Miami East 46-7 on Saturday.
Riverside junior quarterback Myles Platfoot ranks second among TRC players with 470 rushing yards to his credit. Senior RB Warren Shockey ranks second with 501 rushing yards; he’s scored four TDs. Senior receiver Simon Godwin has caught 14 passes for a TRC-best 302 yards with three TDs to his credit.
New Bremen stays No. 3 in D-VII state poll
New Bremen (4-0) remains ranked third in this week’s Associated Press Division VII state poll after having beaten Midwest Athletic Conference rival Versailles 14-7 last week.
Warren John F. Kennedy (4-0), which New Bremen blasted 31-0 in the Div. VII state championship game in 2020, is ranked first. Mechanicsburg (4-0), which has had playoff runs end with lopsided loss to MAC squads St. Henry, Anna and Coldwater every year since 2018, is ranked No. 2.
Newark Catholic (2-0), which traveled to Fort Loramie and came away with a 27-9 win last Friday, remains ranked fourth.
Fort Loramie didn’t rank in the top 10 last week but received votes. The squad dropped out entirely this week.
Versailles (3-1) dropped to seventh in the D-VI poll.
Contact Bryant Billing at (937) 538-4818, or follow @SidneyOHSports on Twitter and @BryantBillingSDN on Facebook.