A season of firsts continues to decorate the Sidney High School football program. There are rushing records, kicking records, an undefeated season record and a non-stop buzz around this Shelby County centerpiece that is turning into a championship roar.
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And then there’s this: “I don’t think we’ve tail-gated since 2000,” beamed junior quarterback Andre Gordon. “That’s pretty good.”
That good stuff hit a new high on Thursday night, when Sidney outlasted visiting Tippecanoe 49-42 in Greater Western Ohio Conference American North Week 7 showdown. The contest wasn’t settled until Sidney super back Isaiah Bowser bolted 71 yards for the winning touchdown on 4th-and-1 with less than two minutes left.
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Bowser went for 266 yards rushing and scored twice. And Sidney (7-0) needed all that firepower to offset an equally masterful performance by Tipp senior Cole Barhorst. Here are the major highlights in a shootout that Twitter had a hard time keeping up with:
• The area’s rushing leader, Bowser pushed his seven-game total to 1,900 yards and surpassed his own program single-season rushing record he set last year. He also has 24 touchdowns.
• Barhorst rushed for 237 yards and scored three touchdowns, including a 90-yard kickoff return that pulled the teams even at 42-all with less than three minutes left. He accounted for more than 300 yards of offense for Tipp (3-4) and had three runs of 50-plus yards.
“(Barhorst) is a home run threat every time we give him the ball,” said Tipp coach Joel Derge.
• Gordon figured in on four touchdowns. He scored twice on runs of 25 and 5 yards and connected with Lathan Jones (39 yards) and Ratez Roberts (13 yards) on TD passes. A gifted junior who also excels in basketball, Gordon also ran for 123 yards.
• Sidney sophomore kicker Hallie Truesdale reset the program’s single-season record for most extra-point kicks. She converted all five attempts, which makes her 37 for 38 overall.
• Sidney is 7-0 for the first time since 1974 when the great Kris Haines was running wild in the Yellow Jackets’ backfield.
• Sidney (2-0) is in contention for a rare conference title with three games remaining.
• Sidney (Division II, Region 8) appears destined to join its 1989 team as the only other squad to qualify for the playoffs. Sidney is No. 4 in the region. Unbeaten Belmont, which beat Ponitz 41-0 also on Thursday, is No. 5.
Memorial Stadium was rocking throughout and reached a partisan peak on Caleb Harris’ interception to clinch the clutch win in the final minute. Sidney students rushed 30-&-0 Field and joined the Yellow Jackets for a long celebration and choreographed calisthenics display.
Overtime seemed inevitable until Bowser blew through the middle of Tipp’s defense.
“We’ve got to make plays,” said Bowser, who’s verbally committed to Northwestern University. “We know that. The community, they’re all behind us. (Making the playoffs) hasn’t been done in forever. That’s what we’re trying to do, show the GWOC and state we’re a good team.”
Tipp (3-4) is likely out of D-III, Region 12 playoff contention.
This is the season Sidney thought it was going to have last year. Injuries and other setbacks postponed the envisioned success. It wasn’t so long ago that Sidney was an easy out in the GWOC. Not now.
“It takes a little bit longer now to go to the grocery story,” Sidney coach Adam Doenges said. “People used to turn and go the other way down the aisle to avoid me. Now, everywhere you go, people want to talk about (Sidney football). There is an excitement, no matter where you go in town. It’s neat. That’s what high school football should be like.”