GREENVILLE – Greenville hung tough against the state’s No. 9 ranked team early on Friday night, but Sidney pulled away in the second half to defeat the Green Wave 40-8 in their season finale.
Greenville was within two scores of Sidney entering halftime, 20-6, before the Yellow Jackets put the game away in the second half.
“With everything we’ve been through with the injuries and losing players and things like that – key players that were playing well at the time of their injuries – we could have folded up the tent and just gone through the motions, but they didn’t,” Greenville football coach Aaron Shaffer said. “They come out through the week and practice hard and get after it. We had probably some of the best practices we’ve had this week. Offensively, defensively they come out and played. This is the No. 9 team in the state in Division II so to play like that for a half and then not be able to overcome the breaks at the end, it is something to grow on in the offseason.”
The duo of Andre Gordon and Isaiah Bowser led Sidney as they were responsible for almost all of the Yellow Jackets’ offense. Bowser, who is verbally committed to play college football at Northwestern University, had 176 rushing yards and a touchdown on 19 carries. Gordon had 62 rushing yards and four touchdowns on 13 carries while also completing 9-of-12 passes for 106 yards.
“I thought we played pretty good defense off the top, but when they’ve got a tailback in the backfield the caliber of Bowser, any time he can go – and he did,” Shaffer said.
Sidney forced Greenville into a three-and-out on its first possession then quickly scored on a quarterback keeper by Gordon from 5 yards out to go up 7-0. Gordon added a second rushing touchdown later in the quarter to put the Jackets up 13-0.
Sidney increased its advantage to 20-0 in the second quarter when Gordon scrambled then found Ratez Roberts open for a 23-yard touchdown pass.
Greenville was able to get on the scoreboard before the half ended thanks in part to the wet conditions. A snap went through the hands of Sidney’s punter, which set up Greenville at the Jackets’ 7-yard line. Three plays later Micah Light ran for a 1-yard touchdown to cut Sidney’s lead to 20-6.
“We played inspired football there early on,” Shaffer said. “You’ve got to make some plays early to try to hang in it.”
In the third quarter Sidney broke the game open.
Less than a minute into the second half Bowser broke free for a 45-yard touchdown run. Gordon also ran for two touchdowns in the quarter – giving him four rushing touchdowns for the game – to put Sidney up 40-6.
The game’s final points came in the fourth quarter with Sidney’s backups on the field and the wet conditions again playing a factor. A snap went through the quarterback’s hands and out of the end zone for a safety, bringing the score to 40-8.
“Cold is one thing,” Shaffer said. “Cold and wet is a whole ’nother. Handling the ball gets a little slick and when you can’t feel your fingers it’s even worse. So, yeah, it’s part of it. It’s playing football late in October. We kind of joked around about it coming out it seems like every year Sidney week has got some cold, wet-type weather.”
Sidney finished the night with 309 total yards of offense to Greenville’s 118. The Yellow Jackets had 200 on the ground and 109 through the air while the Green Wave had 70 rushing yards and 48 passing yards.
Light led Greenville with 20 yards and a touchdown on four carries. Di’Maurye’ Ewing and Tony Sells also had 20 rushing yards each.
Owen Paulus was 5-of-14 passing for 48 yards. Sells caught three passes for 37 yards to lead the Wave.
Light led Greenville with 10 tackles including 1.5 for a loss. John Butsch had eight tackles including 3.5 for a loss plus a sack. Christian Townsend also had six tackles, 1.5 tackles for a loss and a sack.
Overall Shaffer was pleased with his team’s performance against one of the state’s top teams.
“I said seniors you need to attack the rest of whatever it is you do with the enthusiasm and excitement you came out here with tonight,” Shaffer said. “Young guys you’ve got to attack the offseason or your next sport whether it be on the basketball court or on the wrestling mat, some of them at the bowling alley, some of them swimming, go out there and do it to the best of your ability. We’ve talked for a while now about we don’t want anything but the best you. Give us the best version of you and give us everything you’ve got, and I think our kids did that tonight.”
With Friday’s loss Greenville finished the season 2-8 overall and 0-5 in the Greater Western Ohio Conference. Sidney, which retained possession of the Little Brown Jug, improved to 9-1 overall and 4-1 in the GWOC and will continue its season in the Ohio High School Athletic Association playoffs.
Greenville’s season is done and so are the high school football careers of Greenville’s seniors.
“It’s a group between Braden (Russell) and all the O-line, the Andersons (Caleb and Hunter), Tanner (Swisshelm), Noah (Vanhorn), Landin (Brown), Ethan (Emrick), Lobey (Aaron Lobenstein), guys like Zane Clark who unfortunately he got injured at Trotwood and lost the end of his senior year … those guys know how to do it. Jarrad Crist. It’s a great group of guys that showed our young kids how to work and how to lead and what it takes to be good. Given a break or two, our young kids will build and continue to go forward as a team and our program will continue to grow. We were a really young team that gained a lot of experience this year, but it’s still going to be hard to replace those guys that we’re going to lose.”
Kyle Shaner may be reached at 937-569-4316. Follow me on Twitter @KShanerAdvocate or get updates on Facebook by searching Darke County Sports or Advocate 360. For more features online go to dailyadvocate.com.