Greg Billing
Greg Billing

Greg Billing began covering high school, college and professional sports in the Miami Valley in 1988 when he was a junior at Miami East High School. The Wright State University graduate has worked at the Troy Daily News (1996-1997), Springfield News-Sun (1997-2001) and the Dayton Daily News (2001-2016). He was inducted into the Dayton Auto Racing Fan Club's (DARF) Hall of Fame in 2015 for his auto racing coverage and has also earned numerous Associated Press awards for stories, headline writing and special sports sections. Greg lives in West Milton with his wife and two daughters. When not covering events, he and his wife are cheering for the girls as they play a variety of sports for the Milton-Union Bulldogs.


Running back Isaiah Bowser tossed a touchdown pass. Defensive lineman Devan Rogers caught a touchdown and nearly threw one, too. After suffering its first loss last week, Sidney had some fun in a 55-34 victory over the Butler Aviators on Friday night.

Vandalia – The Toledo Rockets landed Sidney High School senior Devan Rogers for his defense. Rogers might want to lobby UT coaches for a few offensive snaps, too.

One week after suffering its first loss, Sidney had some fun in a 55-34 victory over the host Butler Aviators on Friday night. The Yellow Jackets pulled out a few trick plays in the Greater Western Ohio Conference win. Two came from Rogers.

The 6-foot-2, 307-pound defensive tackle ran a crisp route and showed good hands to haul in a 10-yard touchdown pass midway through the second quarter for a 28-7 lead. One drive earlier, Rogers took a hand off and hit Kelton Stockton with a 45-yard pass that took the Yellow Jackets down to Butler’s 1-yard line. Quarterback Andre Gordon punched it in two plays later.

“We ran it before but teams keyed on it,” Rogers said of his touchdown catch. “It was wide open and Dre gave me a good pass. I caught it and walked into the end zone. It’s what’s best for the team. If they need me to block, if they need me to make a catch I’ll do it.”

Sidney’s Josiah Hudgins slaps away an intended would-be touchdown pass made to Aviator Bryant Johnson.

And just like a 307-pound wide receiver rumbling toward the end zone, there was also no stopping the Yellow Jackets (8-1, 3-1 GWOC) in the American North Division win. The victory kept Sidney one game behind Troy (7-2, 4-0 GWOC) in the division standings after the Trojans knocked off Greenville 42-0.

Sidney showed no signs of shaking off that stunning 48-21 loss to Troy last week. The Yellow Jackets needed six plays before senior Isaiah Bowser’s halfback pass hit Ratez Roberts for a 35-yard touchdown barely two minutes into the game.

Playing perhaps its best first half of defense this season, the Yellow Jackets locked down the Aviators for a 42-13 halftime lead. Among the highlights:

Junior Josiah Hudgins broke up a fourth-down pass at the Yellow Jackets’ 5-yard line on Butler’s first drive.

The special teams punt return unit stuffed a fake punt deep in Butler territory late in the first half, leading to a Gordon 1-yard run and 27-7 lead.

After Butler drove to Sidney’s 28-yard line, Rogers blasted through the Aviators’ offensive line for a sack. After an incomplete pass, teammates Anthony Straman, Zach Webb and Braydon Dean sack Butler’s quarterback on fourth-and-16 on the Yellow Jackets’ 35. That led to Bowser’s 21-yard touchdown run and 35-7 lead.

Butler scored to make it 35-13 with 2:25 left in the first half, but Marshall Wilson went straight up the middle to block the extra point.

“We’ve got some special players on defense,” Rogers said. “We just need a few more plays at the end of the day.”

Andre Gordon had 2 touchdowns and completed 15 of 22 passes to five different receivers for 204 yds and two touchdowns.

Butler did fend off a running clock in the second half by pulling to 42-26 with 7:53 left in the third quarter. But the Yellow Jackets’ offense did its part, too.

Bowser surpassed 2,000 yards rushing this season with his 243 yards and three touchdowns on 29 carries. Unofficially, Bowser – who picked up a chunk of his yardage on a 57-yard touchdown run late in the second quarter – has 2,211 yards rushing. He also threw that touchdown to Roberts.

Gordon completed 15-of-22 passes to five different receivers for 204 yards and two touchdowns. He ran for two more.

Sidney rolled up 622 yards of total offense to Butler’s 347.

“Devan has a big arm and Isaiah can get it out there,” Sidney coach Adam Doenges said of Sidney’s trick-play passes. “It wasn’t the prettiest ball but those kids did a nice job and the receivers did a nice job going up and pulling the ball down. … Devon is a big asset. He’s got good hands. He’s a valuable asset on our offense just as much as he is on defense.”

Yellow Jacket Darren Taborn makes a move on Aviator Nick Murphy.

Perhaps the biggest impact Rogers made on defense came in the second quarter. Butler running back Logan took a hand off up the middle but had his momentum rocked to a halt by Rogers.

“That gets me excited. It gets my teammates excited,” Rogers said. “Just hearing the crowd made noise gets me pumped up. … We definitely need to step up. We played our best defense all in the first half. We just need to step it up and finish games in the fourth quarter.”

Sidney likely locked up a playoff spot in Division II, Region 8. The Yellow Jackets, who entered the game ranked No. 4 in the region, can help improve their chances for a home playoff game with a win next week at Greenville. The top eight teams per region qualify for the postseason and the top four teams host first-round games.

“We feel like we’re in the playoffs but we want to host a playoff game,” Doenges said. “We want to get our seniors back on the field again. We want the town to get excited and see that home playoff game. We need to take care of business of going on the road to Greenville. It’s always tricky going over there and there’s a trophy, the Little Brown Jug, that’s on the line. That’s our focus right now.

“We talked to the kids about not wanting to go into the postseason flat lining. This was a big game for us not staying complacent. I think we played well tonight especially on defense. There were some bright moments but we have to get a little bit better.”

Completed pass to Yellow Jacket Darren Taborn before taken down by Aviator Gavin Casella.

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