KINGS MILLS — Sidney couldn’t keep up with Kings in a Division II, Region 8 playoff opener on Friday and had its season end.
The Knights scored touchdowns on their first seven drives and handed the Yellow Jackets a 55-14 loss. Sidney finishes the season 4-7.
Kings (9-1) is the No. 4 seed in Region 8 and was ranked No. 8 in D-II in the final Associated Press state poll this season. The Knights’ only loss was a 28-23 loss to top-ranked Winton Woods in Week 7.
“They’re really good at what they do,” Sidney coach Adam Doenges said. “They made way more plays than we were able to.”
Kings finished with 504 yards of offense, 460 of which came through the air.
Senior starting quarterback Will Kocher completed 25-of-37 passes for 450 yards with four touchdowns; he surpassed 3,000 passing yards for the season. He’s thrown 37 touchdown passes with seven interceptions.
“Defensively, we wanted to force them into third-and-longs,” Doenges said. “I’d have to look back, but I think every single one of those drives in the first half, we had them in a third- or fourth-and-long. I think the majority of them were double sticks.
“We had them in the right spots, but they’re just really good at what they do. We had a couple of bad coverages, but a lot times we were in the right spot. They just made tremendous plays.”
Sidney, which was the region’s No. 13 seed, will lose 14 seniors to graduation. Among the players who will graduate are free safety Myles Vordemark and receiver Sam Reynolds. Vordemark led the squad with 133 tackles this season while Reynolds caught a team-high 74 passes for 1,044 yards and 10 touchdowns.
“It’s always been a smaller class. These 14 held strong,” Doenges said. “We gained a couple this year who had never played. It’s a really neat group of kids. I’m very appreciative that we had the extra week to be with them.
“I know there’s a lot of talk about 16 teams (per region making the playoffs). But I’ll take the end result tonight if it means getting to spend an extra week with the kids. This result isn’t what we wanted, but I got another week with my kids, and that was enjoyable for us, enjoyable for me, and better than staying at home. I’ll continue to do that extra week whenever I get the opportunity.”
Sidney looks to return many starters, and Doenges said he thinks and extra week of practice was only beneficial moving forward.
“We played a ton of sophomores and juniors this year with a smaller senior class,” Doenges said. “That’s a plus when you make the playoffs. Even though we took it on the chin tonight, that was an extra week of practice the younger kids got, and another opportunity to get time on the field. That’s valuable moving forward.”
Sidney finished with 302 yards of offense.
Junior quarterback Tucker Herron completed 13-of-25 passes for 230 yards with one touchdown and one interception. Reynolds caught eight passes for 111 yards with one touchdown, sophomore Julius Spradling caught three passes for 79 yards and sophomore Tank Fleming caught one pass for 37 yards.
Vordemark led Sidney with 7.5 tackles while junior Dylan Kelly had six. Senior Wyatt Biddle made 4.5 tackles and intercepted one pass.
Kings took control quickly.
The Knights scored less than a minute into the game when Michael Mussari hauled in a 51-yard touchdown pass with 11:04 left to give the squad a 7-0 lead.
The Yellow Jackets went three-and-out, and Jay Holubetz scored on a 1-yard TD run to push the lead to 14-0. After another Sidney three-and-out, Kings quickly drove on a series passes, and Holubetz ran in from 1 yard out to cap off the drive and push the lead to 21-0 with 3:42 left.
Sidney went three-and-out again, and Kings again quickly drove and scored when Holubetz ran in from 5 yards out with 1:32 left to increase the lead to 28 points.
Sidney again went three-and-out, and Kings drove and scored on a 5-yard touchdown reception by Mussari to take a 35-0 lead with 8:58 left in the second quarter.
Sidney picked up two first downs on its next drive — including on a fake punt attempt — but Kings intercepted a pass near the 10, then drove about 90 yards and scored when Mussari caught a 16-yard TD pass with 3:59 left.
The Yellow Jackets finally put together a drive. After a long reception by Spradling, Reynolds caught a 3-yard TD pass with 1:53 left to cut the gap to 42-7.
But the Knights scored before halftime when Paul Kelly hauled in a 28-yard TD pass with 57 seconds left to push the lead to 49-7 before halftime and ensure the second half started with a running clock.
Patrick Holubetz returned an interception 25 yards for a touchdown on the opening drive of the second half to push the lead to 56-7.
Sidney added a touchdown late when senior Jy Foster-Wheeler ran in from 1 yard out with 4:16 left in the fourth.
Contact Bryant Billing at (937) 538-4818, or follow @SidneyOHSports on Twitter and @BryantBillingSDN on Facebook.