Improving to 4-0 for the first time since 1996, Sidney beat host Xenia 55-48 in a Greater Western Ohio Conference crossover shootout at Doug Adams Stadium. The Yellow Jackets increased their overall series advantage to 21-18-4. The schools first met in 1922.
Xenia drops to 0-4.
According to Drew Pasteur’s fantastic50.net, an Ohio high school football playoff and game prediction site, Sidney had a 97-percent chance of making the playoffs with a win over Xenia. The site lists the Yellow Jackets as favorites in each of their final six games, which includes all five GWOC North tilts. Sidney’s last league title in football was 1970 as a member of the Miami Valley League.
The Yellow Jackets, who own just four football league titles since 1937, were 4-6 last season.
“It’s exciting,” Sidney head coach Adam Doenges said. “It’s a weird position to be in since we’ve only had one playoff team in our 120-plus seasons of football, but going into the season we had a lot of confidence and build up. You don’t want to go overboard though because we’ve never been there. It’s an interesting spot to be in and the kids are enjoying it. We’re 4-0 and looking for 5-0 next week.”
Said senior running back Isaiah Bowser: “Everybody is hyped. Coming into the season people weren’t sure we could get it done. But we’ve won the first four games and we’re rolling right now.”
Sidney’s resurgence is fueled by the GWOC’s top offense (averaging 505 yards and 37.8 points per game) and Bowser. The GWOC’s leading rusher, Bowser, a Northwestern recruit, eclipsed the 1,000-yard mark against Xenia with his third straight game 300-plus yard game. He carried the ball 43 times for a career-high 434 yards and six touchdowns. He also completed two halfback passes for 90 yards and another touchdown.
Sidney needed every bit of it.
Entering the game ranked last in the GWOC in offense, Xenia flexed an improved ground game of its own. Tallying 467 yards in the first three games, the Buccs outgained Sidney 596-539 in total offense. Junior running back Sincere Wells led the charge with 285 yards and four touchdowns on 27 carries. Junior Corey Burnette added 152 yards and two touchdowns on eight carries. He also caught three passes for 86 yards and a touchdown.
Defensively Hasan Akinyele had 13 tackles for Xenia.
“Coach (Trace) Smitherman is a great coach,” Doenges said of Xenia’s first-year mentor. “ I got to watch him at Stebbins build that program up. I watched him transform the kids there and he’s going to do good things at Xenia. I can see a difference in their team.”
Ditto for Sidney.