A week of football practice is never easy, as anyone who has played will no doubt tell you.
But Sidney head coach Adam Doenges said this week was “a little bit easier” thanks to the Yellow Jackets’ performance last Friday in getting Shelby County’s first victory of the season, 35-13 at Bellefontaine.
“It’s always easier when you win,” Doenges added. “We really wanted to jump out on them last week. Last year, they were all seniors and we were a bit younger, and they came out and jumped on us. We wanted to to that and we were able to. We had around 290 yards of offense in the first half.”
The Jackets jumped to a 21-0 lead but Bellefontaine got things straightened out and a score just before the half ended made it 28-13. But the Sidney defense was up to the challenge and kept the Chieftains off the board in the second half.
“When coach (Kyle) Coleman came in as our defensive coordinator, we got to talking in the offseason about the defense,” said Doenges. “He said he really wanted to run a three-front. If you run that, you have to have a really good nose tackle because there’s a lot on his shoulders. And Devan Rogers is that guy. He’s good and he’s commanding double teams and still making plays.”
And joining him on the line are Javon Purk and Devon Santos. Purk already has two-and-a-half sacks this season, tops in the Greater Western Ohio Conference.
“I think those three are as good as you’ll see,” Doenges said.
As for the rest of the defense, Doenges said there are currently seven players rotating at linebacker and five fighting for two strong safety positions.
“Kyle was previously the head coach at Paulding (high school), and also coached college ball at Adrian and Bluffton,” said Doenges. “And Terry Ward was the defensive coordinator at Lehman and coaches the defensive line. And he’s got them playing well.”
Offensively, the Jackets were forced to go with freshman Andre Gordon at quarterback the entire second half because starter Jack Feazel wasn’t 100 percent.
“Jack got banged up in the first game, and again last week,” said Doenges. “So we had to ride our freshman. I think we’re a better offense when Jack is getting the majority of the snaps. Andre is a freshman and is a bit limited in what he can do, but he did a good job last week and we were able to get a win.
Gordon scored the Jackets’ first two touchdowns on runs of 7 and 18 yards, and tossed a 55-yard scoring pass to sophomore running back Isaiah Bowser for the final score of the game midway through the final period.
“When Jack is getting most of the snaps, we can use Andre in other spots,” he added. “We feel we have six kids on offense that can have huge nights any time. Last week is was Isaiah, and Allec Gordon went over 100 yards receiving. And in week one, Conor Beer had a big night.”
Bowser rushed for 123 yards last week against the Chieftains.
The Jackets try for two in a row Friday night at home when they host the West Carrollton Pirates, who are also 1-1 on the season. The Pirates lost 54-7 to future GWOC member Stebbins in the season opener, then edged Middletown Christian 15-8 last week.
So far in two games, the Pirates are averaging just 150 yards in total offense.
“I think West Carrollton is struggling to find an identity,” said Doenges. “But they’re working hard and they’re not going to come in here and roll over. And we’re pretty quck to remind the kids that we were 2-8 last year.”
Reach Ken Barhorst at 937-538-4818