In the aftermath of a lopsided loss to Trotwood last week that ended Sidney’s four-game winning streak, head football coach Adam Doenges was reminded of a silver lining to the dark cloud.
“Someone told me we didn’t have to play Trotwood anymore because they’re going to a different division,” Doenges said. “I said that was the best news I’d heard all night.”
Due to the Greater Western Ohio Conference expanding with the addition of Tipp City and Stebbins, there will be four divisions next year instead of the three there are now. And when that happens, Trotwood will move out of the North Division, which it has dominated in amazing fashion in football. Last week’s win over Sidney gave Trotwood 33 straight wins in the North, so Doenges probably isn’t the only one glad to see them go.”
“We just had too many times where we had missed assignments or blown tackles,” Doenges said of the game, which wound up 59-21. “When you play a team as good and as talented as Trotwood, you have a very small margin of error. Trotwood is obviously well-coached and they knew who our playmakers were. They did a nice job of neutralizing (quarterback) Andre (Gordon). His athleticism was neutralized.”
But the Jackets have another big opportunity to make some noise Friday night when they travel to Vandalia to take on the 4-2 Aviators, who are coming off a 28-21 win over Piqua last week. Vandalia is currently No. 7 in the same region of Division 2 that Sidney is in, so there are valuable computer points to be had, although the Jackets have some serious climbing to do, being back in 14th spot.
The Aviators opened with lopsided wins over Springfield Shawnee and Tecumseh, then handed Wilmington its only loss so far, 29-20. The Aviators then lost 38-21 to Xenia and 51-13 to Springfield.
“Vandalia is really good defensively,” said Doenges. “Their front five are extremely good, including their down three and two middle linebackers. They’re going to give our O-line a run for their money. Our line has to play better and get to their blocks better.”
The defense is led by Nic Martin, a 6-foot-3, 230-pound linebacker who started as a freshman. He is now a senior, and is also the team’s leading rusher with 404 yards so far. Close behind is Logan Flatt at 389 yards. He broke off a 70-yarder last week against Piqua.
“Martin gets the majority of the carries and he’s a special athlete and a hard-nosed kid,” said Doenges.
Chandler Craine is a three-year starter at quarterback. The six-foot, 190-pound senior is 85-for-158 passing for 1,043 yards so far. He threw three interceptions last week against Piqua, but the defense made sure they didn’t hurt too much.
His top receiver is Noah Ballard, who has caught 16 passes for 207 yards.
“Craine is a pure drop-back quarterback and we haven’t seen that this year,” Doenges said.
Sidney is led by sophomore running back Isaiah Bowser and freshman quarterback Gordon, who have 570 and 546 yards rushing so far this season. Gordon is also hitting 68 percent of his passes, 54-for-78, for 804 yards, with Darryl McNeal having hauled in 31 receptions so far.
“This is a big bounce-back week for us,” Doenges said. “Our last four games will be fun games against rivals, and it’s that time of year where there are no secrets. Everyone knows what everyone is about, so it comes down to coaching and execution. We have to bounce back this week and head in the right direction.”