1965 was a solid season in Sidney


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Half a century ago the Sidney Yellow Jackets’ final football ledger of 4-4-1 is not an eye popper. But that squad of sixth-year head coach Dave Haines played in seven close games and beat some good opponents. The 1965 season is among my favorite Sidney High School gridiron campaigns.

Opening night at St. Marys saw a 44-20 loss. In week two, powerhouse Lima Senior took a 26-0 win at Sidney’s Julia Lamb Stadium. The three-game homestand then concluded with a pair of 14-8 wins over Miamisburg and Piqua, with the verdict over Piqua being the first since 1960.

The Jackets came up short, 28-14, at Troy before returning home for a 6-6 tie with Greenville, leaving Sidney 2-1-1 in the Miami Valley League with one game to play at new member Bellefontaine, which was also 2-1-1 like Sidney and Piqua. The winner between the Yellow Jackets and Chieftains would get no worse than a share of the 1965 MVL title, a championship SHS hadn’t tasted since 1937.

Bellefontaine was very good and their two best players were freshmen legends-in-the-making backfield mates Jesse Williams and Gail Clark. This classic encounter saw a 30-30 tie before the Chiefs scored in the last :30 to win 38-30. Piqua also won on that night to create co-champs.

Current Sidney assistant coach “Tiny” Stockton, then a senior, tallied three touchdowns, with two on passes from junior Bill Dodd and another on a 66-yard punt return. Williams countered with 14 points. The home Chieftains led 14-8 at intermission before both offenses went into high gear. The Chiefs Head Coach in 1965 would later serve in that same position at the University of Michigan. Gary Moeller was the Maize and Blue field boss from 1990-94.

Two non-league games then rounded out the nine-game slate and Sidney needed to win both to avoid a losing season. Unbeaten Dayton Belmont came to Sidney and dominated the stats before leaving with an 8-6 loss. The late Joe Ward, a junior linebacker and offensive tackle, termed the victory “a real big win” in a 1995 interview in this paper. “The Belmont coach was upset after the game (and indicated such with a gesture toward Sidney Coach Dave Haines).”

A solid Dayton Carroll club journeyed to Sidney to end the season a week later and departed with a 6-0 loss. Ward again served as spokesman, “We were real happy. We had a real good season considering the schedule we played.”

Sidney and Carroll haven’t played each other since but that changes when the Patriots assume the week-3 slot on Sidney’s schedules in 2016 and 2017.

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Dave Ross authored a 438-page book on the first century of Sidney High School football. He’s a regular contributor to the Sidney Daily News.

Dave Ross authored a 438-page book on the first century of Sidney High School football. He’s a regular contributor to the Sidney Daily News.