By Bryant Billing
SIDNEY — Isaiah Bowser scored a pair of crucial touchdowns in the second half to help Sidney earn a 39-32 win over St. Marys on Friday night at Memorial Stadium.
Bowser, a senior running back, scored a four-yard run with 2:17 left that gave the Yellow Jackets their first lead since the first quarter. Devan Rogers intercepted a pass on St. Marys’ final drive to preserve the victory.
After Bowser’s touchdown, St. Marys quickly moved the ball into Sidney territory. Rogers intercepted a pass from Colin Clements with a little over a minute left, and the Yellow Jackets were able to run out the clock.
“I knew he was going to pass, and I thought it was going to be a screen,” Rogers said. “He threw it right to me. It was like catching a pass.”
St. Marys’ rushing attack moved the ball well through much of the game, but Sidney’s defense came up with a few stops late in the second half. The Roughriders scored on every first half possession, but Sidney forced them to punt late in the third quarter and early in the fourth.
“We were struggling bad,” Rogers said. “We went in at halftime, and the coaches gave us a good talk, and we just came out with fire and didn’t give up.”
Bowser scored on a 49-yard reception in the first half and a 39-yard run in the third quarter. After St. Marys’ second punt, Sidney drove from its own 35-yard line and took about five minutes and 30 seconds off the clock. Bowser scored the last touchdown with a run up the middle.
“I saw the end zone, put my shoulder down and had to get in there,” Bowser said. “It felt good.”
St. Marys led 25-18 at halftime. Bowser’s 39-yard touchdown run came 43 seconds into the third quarter and tied the game 25-25.
St. Marys responded with an 11-play, 75-yard drive that Sean Perry capped off with a 10-yard touchdown run with 5:47 left in the third. Sidney drove down to St. Marys’ 6-yard line late in the quarter, but Bowser was stopped short on a fourth down conversion attempt.
The Roughriders went three-and-out, and Sidney got the ball at St. Marys’ 48-yard line. Gordon scored several plays later on a 4-yard run with 9:54 left in the fourth to tie the game 32-32.
After another St. Marys punt, Sidney came up with its biggest drive of the game. Darren Taborn caught a pass for a first down on the drive, and Bowser had a big 8-yard run on third down.
“We just needed a stop, and we ended up getting three in a row there at the end,” Sidney coach Adam Doenges said. “It’s a great win for our kids. …We’ve always prepared for situations like these. I’m not sure how much kids in general believe it in May, June, July when you tell them you’re going to be in a situation like this.
“These guys, though, bought that when June was awful and July conditioning was awful. We told them at some point in quarter three or quarter four, you’re going to rely back on that conditioning work you’ve one. These kids really bought into that, and it was neat to see it pay off for them.”
The Roughriders started the game with an 8:50 drive that was capped off on a four-yard touchdown run by Braeden Dunlap. Bo Kuenning picked up three yards on fourth down in Sidney territory to keep the drive alive, and Dunlap scored eight plays later.
Sidney answered in 32 seconds. After Gordon ran 12 yards for a first down, he threw a pass along the visitors sideline to Bowser, who turned back toward the home sideline and outraced St. Marys defenders for a 49-yard touchdown. Gordon threw a two-point conversion pass to Ratez Roberts to give the Yellow Jackets an 8-7 lead with 2:38 left in the first.
After St. Marys got a few first downs on its next drive, Bowser stopped Dunlap a few yards short of the marker on third down. On the first play of the second quarter, Clements threw a 39-yard touchdown pass to Dunlap and Sean Perry followed with a two-point conversion run to give St. Marys a 15-8 lead.
Sidney responded quickly again. Gordon scored on a 39-yard touchdown run with 10:53 left in the second, and Hallie Truesdale hit the extra point to tie the game 15-15.
St. Marys got two first downs on its next drive and then scored on a 52-yard touchdown pass from Clements to Dunlap to take a 22-15 lead with 9:17 left. The Roughriders recovered an onside kick and drove into the red zone, but Sidney forced a fourth down and short at the 4-yard line. Gabe Vandever then hit a 21-yard field goal with 3:33 left to give St. Marys a 25-15 lead.
Sidney was pinned back as far as inside its own 10 on its next drive, but a long run from Gordon and a pass interference call on a fourth down conversion try moved the ball into St. Marys territory. A roughing the passer penalty on the Roughriders moved the ball to the 20, and Sidney later capped off the drive on a 26-yard field goal by Truesdale with two seconds left.
Sidney plays at Bellefontaine next Friday, and Rogers said the team isn’t going to be complacent after a season-opening win.
“We gave it all we’ve got tonight, but we want to keep this up,” Rogers said. “We’re going to keep working.”
Here's a postgame interview with Sidney running back Isaiah Bowser following the Yellow Jackets' 39-32 win over St. Marys. pic.twitter.com/nUiyoFwSEW
— Sidney Daily News (@sidneydailynews) August 26, 2017