Sidney High School football continues to assert itself as an emerging Greater Western Ohio Conference presence with the verbal commitment of two highly regarded seniors.
»SEE PHOTO GALLERY BELOW
Running back Isaiah Bowser committed to Northwestern University on Friday and was followed the next day by defensive tackle Devan Rogers, who pledged to the University of Toledo.
They are two great reasons – along with a healthy junior quarterback Andre Gordon – Sidney is looking to contend for a GWOC American North title and land a rare playoff spot.
“It’s a stress reliever,” assured, Rogers, a 6-foot-2, 300-pound Yellowjackets’ defensive front anchor who chose Toledo over Rutgers and Iowa State. “Now I can focus on my team so we can get better.”
»OKLAHOMA: Dunbar RB Tavion Thomas
Bowser led the GWOC in rushing as a junior, gaining 1,877 yards (6.3 average per carry) and accounting for 31 combined touchdowns. He had three straight games of 262 or more yards rushing in Weeks 2-4 and put a combined 529 yards and nine scores on Vandalia-Butler and Greenville in Weeks 9-10.
More impressive, he did that with teams packing the line of scrimmage for a lack of passing game after heralded quarterback Andre Gordon was out with a wrist injury after just one game. Bowser accounted for 2,257 all-purpose yards, which also led the GWOC.
“Me and Isaiah are the leaders of our class,” Rogers said. “We just try to motivate our class to be able to come in as freshmen and sophomores to help them out. I think we’ve done that really well.”
Bowser is the first area player to commit to a Big Ten team as a senior. Wayne linebacker Antwuan Johnson and Springfield’s Leonard Taylor both de-committed from Michigan last year. Rogers is the second area player to commit to the Mid-American Conference, joining Belmont defensive back Jadon Rucker-Furlow (Miami).
Sidney coach Adam Doenges is in his seventh season guiding the Yellowjackets. He credits Sidney grad Lorenzo Taborn as initially redirecting the recruiting radar on Yellowjackets football. An offensive lineman, Taborn started five games for the Falcons last season as a freshman.
“(Football) means a lot to the community around here,” Doenges said. “There’s been a lot of success in a lot of different communities up here, particularly the (Midwest Athletic Conference), St. Marys, Lima (Senior) and (Wapakoneta). They’ve enjoyed a lot of success and we haven’t. We’re one of the bigger schools around here. It’s fun for our kids to experience that a little bit and hopefully keep the ball rolling in the fall.”
Gordon, now a fully healed junior, is a football/basketball standout. He remains uncommitted, but has a football offer from Iowa State. As a dual-threat freshman QB he threw for 1,373 yards (10 touchdowns) and ran for 868 yards (12 scores).
That’s all heady stuff for a program that bottomed out in 2010-11. Sidney is looking to crack the Division II, Region 8 playoff lineup. That has happened just once before, in 1989.
Doenges said Bowser landed Northwestern’s final available offer. “Devan, he’s going to be one of the top recruits that Toledo is going to get,” Doenges said. “It was a very mature decision for both of those guys. They both picked – in my opinion – the best schools for both of them to go to.”
Sidney, 4-6 last season, hosts St. Marys Memorial in a season opener on Friday, Aug. 25.