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Sidney head football coach Adam Doenges built a four-win team a season ago from the wreckage of back-to-back 0-10 seasons. Now he says it’ll take a slightly different tack to make the Yellow Jackets into a winner.
That means a little less coddling and more responsibility from a Sidney team that will play host to the St. Marys Roughriders on Friday night at 7 p.m. in a regular-season opener for both squads.
“Obviously we took a step in the right direction last year,” Doenges said. “In my first two years, we essentially rewarded kids for doing what they were supposed to do. For showing up. Now the focus is: you get rewarded when you do more than what is expected of you. Last year we did what we should’ve done. We were a four-win football team. Now if we want more than four wins, we’re going to have to go above and beyond.”
Doenges enters his third season as head coach at Sidney, looking for his Yellow Jackets to take the next step.
“Do we want to get what we can get — which is us being a three or four-win football team — or do we want to go above and beyond and become a five, six, seven-win football team?” Doenges said.
While Sidney’s 16 points per game scored didn’t look impressive on paper, Doenges said it represented a giant leap forward from a team that scored just one touchdown against a varsity defense the season before. Defensively, Sidney went from giving up more than 50 points per game in 2010 to a defense that gave up just 26 points per game last season.
“I don’t expect us to halve that again this year because we’re going to give up some points just by the nature of how quickly we try to play on offense, but the thing I was most proud of last year was how the defense stepped up,” Doenges said.
Sidney in 2013 brings back an experienced group of skill players and a returning quarterback in his third year behind center, including returning starting quarterback Jordan Fox.
Doenges is 1-1 against St. Marys, his alma mater where he played and made his name on his hard work and smarts under former St. Marys head coach Doug Frye.
The Yellow Jackets showed that same kind of tenacity in a low-scoring affair that began the 2012 season at Skip Baughman Stadium. Andre Spillers booted a 30-yard field goal in overtime and Sidney emerged with a 10-7 win that snapped a 20-game losing streak.
Doenges has played and coached in this longtime opening-game between Sidney and St. Marys that goes back decades and was only interrupted by a two-season hiatus in the mid-2000s. He said it’s a great tradition for both programs.
“You can talk to people from 30 years ago and they had the same opening-game experience,” Doenges said. “It’s a neat game just from the aspect that it’s the first game and also because it’s been the first game for a long time and it hits people in the heartstrings.”