SIDNEY — Sidney coach Adam Doenges saw playoff potential after a 6-4 breakout season in 2015. Two years later, the Yellow Jackets are in the playoffs.
The Ohio High School Athletic Association officially announced playoff pairings on Sunday, and the Yellow Jackets are one of six area schools that have earned postseason berths. All four Shelby County high schools with football teams earned playoff berths.
“It’s neat for us to be a part of it,” Sidney coach Adam Doenges said. “Everyone else has been in the playoffs in the last 10 or 15 years, and now we get to be a part of the conversation. …The school spirit and community spirit is at an all-time high.”
It’s the second playoff berth in school history. The only other playoff season for the Yellow Jackets came in 1989.
“The kids have worked extremely hard to get to this point and to get a home game, but they don’t want to just get there, they want to make a run, too,” Doenges said. “We’ve got our work cut out for us with a good opponent, but they’re committed and have played well and worked really hard to get us here.”
Sidney will host Belmont on Friday in a Division II, Region 8 quarterfinal game. The Yellow Jackets are the No. 4 seed in Region 8, while Belmont is No. 5. The top eight teams in each region qualify for the playoffs.
Anna (7-3) is the No. 7 seed in Division V, Region 20 and will travel to No. 2 Middletown Madison.
Four local teams are in the playoffs in Division VII, Region 28. Fort Loramie, the No. 5 seed, will travel to No. 4 Minster for a regional quarterfinal. The two teams opened the season against each other in Minster, and the Wildcats won 20-0. Minster is 6-4, while Fort Loramie is 8-2.
Lehman Catholic will host Lima Perry at Alexander Stadium in Piqua. The No. 2 seed Cavaliers (9-1) beat Perry 49-13 on Oct. 20 in a Northwest Central Conference game.
Riverside (6-4) earned the No. 6 seed in Region 28 and will travel to No. 3 Delphos St. Johns.
All playoff games are Friday, and all have kickoff times of 7:30 p.m.
Sidney’s playoff berth completes a remarkable turnaround that Doenges has overseen since taking over in 2011. The Yellow Jackets had back-to-back 0-10 seasons in 2010 and 2011.
“These seniors were in sixth grade when I took over as the head coach,” Doenges said. “… Those kids made a commitment that they wanted to make a change, and it was just starting to create that bond back when they were in sixth grade, fifth grade, and fourth grade that they were the classes that could turn it around. You could see back then they had some special talent, and the trick was keeping them all together, keeping them in Sidney and keeping them excited about playing football.”
Minster suffered a four-game losing streak in MAC play in regular season but won its last three games. The Wildcats also had a four-game skid in a 6-4 campaign last year and advanced to the Division VII state final. They’ll try for a similar performance this year.
The Wildcats won a state title in 2014 and are one of four MAC programs which have won championships in the last four years. With the league having such a record of success in the postseason, Anna may have a long run ahead.
Anna’s 7-3 record is its best since an 8-2 mark in 2010, which is the last time the program made the playoffs. The Rockets’ three losses in MAC play came to Marion Local, Coldwater and Minster, which all played in state championship games a year ago.
“When you look at the whole season, we’re very pleased with what we’ve done,” Marino said after Friday’s loss to Minster. “But there’s so much we can get better at. …We’ve got to get back at it (on Monday) and get to work.”
Fort Loramie started the season 2-2 but ran through its last six weeks of Cross County Conference play. The Redskins missed the playoffs last year but are back in the postseason for the eighth time in the 13-year program’s history.
Lehman Catholic lost its first game of the season in overtime to Fort Recovery. Outside of a Week 2 win over Miami East, the Cavaliers have ran over every opponent. Lehman lost a first-round playoff game at Minster last year.
Riverside is back in the playoffs after a one-year hiatus.
Contact Bryant Billing at (937) 538-4818, or follow @SidneyOHSports on Twitter.