Chaminade parlayed an inspired second quarter into what became an insurmountable lead, dropping an uninspired Sidney in its final tuneup before next week’s opener.
Sidney – You ask two coaches and you get two perspectives of Thursday night’s 27-14 Chaminade-Julienne win over Sidney in the scrimmage finale for both teams before next Friday’s season opener.
CJ’s Marcus Colvin was ecstatic, grinning ear-to-ear over a three-touchdown second quarter outburst that gave his team an impressive 19-7 lead at the break.
“We made some mistakes, and I was concerned before the game about our being energized about being here,” said Colvin afterwards. “But I was very happy about the way we played in the second quarter. We executed and we competed, and I have a lot of respect for Sidney and Coach Doenges. There was a lot of coaching going on because we have some things we have to fix. But I was pleased because we overcame some adversity.”
Doenges, on the other hand, had some other, different issues. His team was simply outplayed by the youthful Eagles. Mistakes, penalties, a couple of costly first half turnovers all contributed. But bottom line…his team just came out flat!
“We start school tomorrow and I don’t if that was a distraction, but we can’t use that for an excuse,” he said, trying to make the best of a disappointing performance. “It was an opportunity to evaluate some of the kids, especially some of the younger ones, and see if they’re ready for Friday nights,”
“I think a couple of them played their way into the picture, and a couple of them probably wiggled their way out of it. We’ll review it on the film, but we definitely found a couple of guys who can play varsity football.”
For whatever the reason, it was a surprising outcome for a team stoked with expectation for the 2016 season – a team coming off a 6-4 record in 2015, and one figured to factor in the conference picture for the GWOC American North.
But the ‘Jackets were not without their moments, and enough individual highlights from quarterback Andre Gordon and running back Isaiah Bowser to portend the glass being half full…instead of half empty.
They really don’t keep stats of three-quarter scrimmages, but Gordon did put up some numbers. He scored the game’s first touchdown five minutes into the first quarter with a 12-yard keeper, untested and untouched.
Subsequently, he ripped off more big chunks of yardage, jukin’ and duckin’ CJ tacklers, and had one 90-yard touchdown run negated by a holding call on a seal block by one of his running backs.
In truth, he ran better than the threw, but he had to run for his life, and that too often, his protection up front porous against the Eagles defensive rush.
“He may have rushed some of his reads tonight. He might have been a little too anxious,” said Doenges. “But CJ’s a really good team, much improved over last year. But Andre’s going to be OK. He’ll attack the film of this game and be ready for next week.”
“I don’t ever want to see him again,” laughed Colvin afterwards, speaking of his team’s inability to corral the ‘Jackets’ mercurial signal-caller. “We have a couple of coaches who were at Fairborn last year and everything they said about him is true. He’s a very special football player.”
And then…the play of running back and Division I prospect Isaiah Bowser, who never scored, but ran hard, aggressively, and made every tackle attempt by CJ a painful one.
“Isaiah’s a big boy and a real load,” said Doenges. “We’ll rely on him a lot. But he’s really a hard-nosed player on defense and we’ll need him there, too.”
CJ answered Gordon’s first quarter score at the 11:00 mark of the second with a 51-yard strike from quarterback Ryan Peltier to Darian Jones. Midway through the quarter Peltier connected again from 12 yards out to running back Colby Williams to take a 12-7 lead.
And after a Sidney fumble on their own 32-yard late before the half, Peltier struck again from 32 yards to Keyshawn Owens to extend the lead to 19-7.
Sidney tallied for its final score halfway through the third quarter on its second possession when backup quarterback Jack Feasel snaked his way into the end zone from twelve yards out. The converted kick made it 19-14, but CJ came back with its JVs on the field to wrap the scoring a few minutes later, 27-14.
For Marcus Colvin and CJ, they now look forward to an important challenge of their own. They open their brand new stadium at home next week with one of Ohio’s most anticipated opponents…8-time state champion Marion Local.
“This is a great opportunity for us,” said Colvin. “I have so much respect for that program and what Coach Goodwin has done there, making five consecutive trips to the state championship game. There’s just something that they do that’s correct, that’s right, and I want to learn from that. To play a team of that caliber is a big deal and a great way to get ready for our own GCL league schedule. Marion will be one of the best teams we play all year.”
For Sidney, it now marks the beginning of a season of high expectation, as mentioned. And two of the things that Doenges will emphasize between now and next week’s opener against St. Marys will be how to handle the expectation, along with work on things like…tackling.
“It’s one of those things you’ve got to handle,” he admitted, speaking of his program’s suddenly inflated profile. “We were 6-4 last year and a winning program for the first time in a dozen years. You want to take pride in that, but it’s a fragile thing because you’re dealing with teenage boys. Sometimes you’ve got to check the egos a bit and make sure they know that we’re not as good as they think we are. Those egos got checked a little bit tonight.”