Sidney Survives Chase County
What a difference a week makes! Sidney’s game last week at Bridgeport didn’t look anything like the first game of the season. 360 yards rushing, few penalties, and no turnovers in a 36-6 win. The Red Raiders home opener against Chase County, a team that had not won a football game since October of 2019, eerily resembled a first scrimmage instead of the second game of the year. The Red Raiders needed a goal-line stand late in the fourth quarter to survive the Longhorns 8-6.
There was one similarity with last weeks win. Sidney scored on their first possession. With the help of three Chase County penalties, the Raiders were able to stop the Longhorn’s opening drive and took over on downs at the Sidney 16. From there Sidney’s offense looked like it hadn’t skipped a beat, going 84 yards in 9 plays for an 8-0 lead.
Sidney held Chase County to just 47 yards of offense on three possessions in the rest of the first half. However, the Raider offense only generated 25 yards and two punts prior to intermission.
Sidney had won the toss and deferred their choice to the second half. Their opening drive of the third quarter was a glimpse of things to come. A 39-yard run by Isak Doty called back because of holding. Another holding call two plays later and an illegal procedure penalty forced a Sidney punt. But a bad punt-snap gave the ball to Chase County at the Sidney 39.
Sidney’s defense held the Longhorns to one first down and got the ball back on downs at their own 24. However, Sidney was unable to move the ball and was forced to punt. Chase County started at their own 38 and engineered a seven-play drive, helped out by a 27-yard run by running back Dawson Mollendor to the Sidney 18. On the first play of the fourth quarter, Mollendor scampered untouched into the end zone to cut into Sidney’s lead. Mollendor’s attempt at a two-point conversion was stopped short and Sidney still led 8-6.
The final period was a calamity of errors. The Raiders threw an interception on their second play from scrimmage. Then after stopping the Longhorns at the Sidney 45, a muffed punt gave Chase County the ball at the Sidney 6. Despite of all the adversity of the second half, Sidney mustered a defensive stand to stop the Longhorns and take over possession at the 4 yard line.
Although Sidney was flagged for four penalties on the drive, including a 15-yard unsportsmanlike conduct, they were able to make enough plays to move the line of scrimmage into Longhorn territory and run out the clock.
Head coach Todd Ekart was obviously not pleased with the Raider's effort after the game. “We survived. That was garbage,” Ekart said. “We got way too many penalties. We got personal fouls, and that’s not who we are, and that’s just dumb.”
Once again Sidney had a pair of 100-yard rushers. Luke Holly finished with 116 yards on 17 carries and Nathan Kennedy tallied 108 yards on 16 carries.
The Longhorns also had a duo of 100-yard ball carriers. Quarterback Ryan Bernhardt carried the ball 32 times for 140 yards. Running back Dawson Mollendor had 101 rushing yards in the second half and finished with 109 yards on just 9 carries in the game.
Sidney is back on the field on Friday, September 11th when they travel to Cozad for a date with the Haymakers. Cozad is 2-0 after defeating Wood River-Shelton 35-0 last week. Kickoff at Haymaker Stadium is scheduled for 6:00 p.m. MDT.