Sidney prepping for Lyburtus, Bellefontaine


By Bryant Billing
bbilling@sidneydailynews.com

SIDNEY — Sidney’s defense has got a workout the last two weeks. In a scrimmage against Chaminade-Julienne on Aug. 18, the Yellow Jackets struggled to contain Eagles quarterback Ryan Peltier. Last week in a season opener against St. Marys, Sidney’s defense gave up 398 yards.

As good as both the Eagles and Roughriders’ offenses are, Sidney coach Adam Doenges said Bellefontaine’s offense may be better. Quarterback Dezmin Lyburtus is a big reason why.

Sidney travels to Bellefontaine’s AccuSport Stadium at 7 p.m. on Friday for a nonconference game against the Chieftains. The Yellow Jackets beat St. Marys 39-32 last week, while Bellefontaine opened the season with a 19-7 win over Wapakoneta.

Lyburtus threw for 112 yards and two touchdowns last week and ran for 113 yards. He was second team all-Southwest District in Division III last season after throwing for 1,263 yards and rushing for 1,065. Doenges said it should be a good match between Lyburtus and Sidney quarterback Andre Gordon.

“I don’t think he’s as good as Andre, but he’s a pretty special back,” Doenges said of Lyburtus. “If Andre wasn’t around this area, I think a lot more people would know who Dezmin Lyburtus is. He’s a pretty special back. He can create a lot of different things on breakdown plays and he can create a lot of time with his feet on making throws downfield.”

Sidney’s defense got a good tune-up for Lyburtus two weeks ago in Peltier, and Doenges said it was a good learning experience. Peltier dodged defenders throughout the scrimmage and scrambled for big gains several times.

“That showed us some things we need to get better at, and last week did too,” Doenges said. “I think Lyburtus is a little bit more physical with his running game (than Peltier). He also plays every snap on defense. Maybe we can get him running around a little bit more on the defensive side of the ball and they have to sub and take him out. I’m not quite sure how they’re going to handle that. He’s going to have to get tired at some point.”

If Sidney’s offense moves the ball like it did last week, many opposing defenders will probably get worn down this season. The Yellow Jackets scored in under a minute in both of their first two drives and accumulated 468 yards of total offense in the game. Gordon threw for 211 yards and one touchdown and ran for 65 yards and two scores, while running back Isaiah Bowser ran for 205 yards and two touchdowns. Sidney overcame a 25-15 deficit in the game to capture the win.

“I was really proud how we finished,” Doenges said. “Not a lot of teams outscore St. Marys 24-7. St. Marys is usually on the other side, and in the last two years they did that to us, where they came roaring back in the second half. They use their strength and their conditioning to outwear teams. Doing that to them is what I’m going to take away from that game most.”

Gordon injured his wrist a few days before playing Bellefontaine last year and missed the rest of the season. Bowser ran for 298 yards and one touchdown in that game, but the Chieftains jumped out to a 26-6 lead and won 34-28.

“Last year’s game was pretty good,” Doenges said. “I didn’t think we played that bad last year considering we found out Thursday morning, the day before the game, that Andre wasn’t going to play. We had to ad lib and get after it a little bit, but whenever we play each other, whether it’s here or there, it’s usually a pretty good game.”

Lyburtus ran for 165 yards and two touchdowns last year against Sidney and also threw for 52 yards. Aside from Lyburtus, several other skill players have stood out to Doenges while watching game film. Running back Trey Stahler ran for 100 yards and one touchdown against Wapakoneta, while five receivers caught passes.

“I’ve been impressed watching these guys that are coming back,” Doenges said. “I think they’ve been kind of circling this year as a year for them to be pretty good. They’ve got a lot of returning skill kids back, and they’re extremely explosive offensively. They’re going to be a tough team to stop this year.”

To get ready for Lyburtus and Bellefontaine’s offense, Doenges said Sidney stepped up their practices early in the week. Former Sidney player Jack Foy came to a few practices and simulated Lyburtus for Sidney’s defense to play against.

“They say you’re supposed to improve the most during the season from Week 1 to Week 2, and that’s what we’re hoping to do,” Doenges said. “I think we improved a lot from scrimmage to scrimmage, and I thought we improved a lot last week.”

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Sidney’s Isaiah Bowser (left) runs by Bellefontaine’s Blaze Warren during a game last season at Sidney. Bowser ran for 281 yards and one touchdown against the Chiefs last season.
https://www.sidneydailynews.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/47/2017/08/web1_SDN090316SidFB.jpgSidney’s Isaiah Bowser (left) runs by Bellefontaine’s Blaze Warren during a game last season at Sidney. Bowser ran for 281 yards and one touchdown against the Chiefs last season. Luke Gronneberg | Sidney Daily News
Bellefontaine quarterback ran for 165 yards and two touchdowns against Sidney last year.

By Bryant Billing

bbilling@sidneydailynews.com

Contact Bryant Billing at (937) 538-4818, or follow @SidneyOHSports on Twitter.