Sidney uses second half surge to soar over DCHS
By Jason Stuart
Ranger-Review Staff Writer
The Dawson County Red Devils held tough against the Sidney Eagles to begin Friday night’s game between the archrivals, but the visitors took off in the second half to notch a 34-7 runaway victory.
The Red Devils were ultimately undone by missed opportunities, bad tackling and poor special teams play.
Two of the Eagles’ second half touchdowns came off of blocked punts. The first led to a quick score via a 27-yard run by running back Bridger Coffman. The second was recovered by the Eagles in the endzone to give Sidney a 28-0 lead midway through the fourth quarter and seal the deal.
“Those special teams plays are huge,” said DCHS Head Coach Ryan Buckley.
Despite the final outcome, Buckley credited his squad for playing hard.
“I’m proud of the kids,” he said. “They hung in there and played their butts off.”
Sidney scored the very first points of the game on their first possession of the second half.
The Eagles looked doomed to start to drive, garnering back to back holding penalties to push them back into a second down and 28 from their own 29 yard line. Then quarterback Gresh Jones hit wide receiver Cody Johnson on a seemingly innocuous pass play over the middle, and a few missed tackles and 71 yards later Johnson sped into the endzone.
“We came up and missed a couple of tackles and the kid made a nice play,” Buckley said.
The Red Devils also had an increasingly hard time bringing down Coffman as the game wore on. He added a 20-yard rushing score early in the fourth quarter to put the Eagles up 20-0.
Buckley said his team tired in the second half against the bigger, more physical Eagles, which has been a common problem for DCHS this season.
Sidney added a touchdown pass to tight end Kory Halvorson late in the game to move out to a 34-0 lead.
DCHS running back Tai Sokoloski, who took over under center late after starting quarterback Carson Oakland was sidelined with an injury, hit wide receiver Dennis Berg with a 39-yard bomb with 27 seconds left in the game to sidestep the home shutout.
The first half was a purely defensive affair, with neither offense able to get much going. Most of both teams’ drives ended in a quick three and out and a punt.
The Red Devils actually seemed to have the better of it on offense in the first half, showing promise at times and advancing fairly deep into Sidney territory, but all they had to show for it in the end was a missed field goal attempt.
Poor play execution, dropped passes, penalties and a turnover all conspired to keep the Red Devils from taking advantage of some good opportunities in the first half.
The very first play of the game seemed to set that example. DCHS ran an option pass play that was set up perfectly, with a wide receiver wide open deep down the field, but the pass went well wide and fell dead out of bounds.
“We just had a couple of times that we shot ourselves in the foot,” Buckley said. “We can’t leave opportunities like that on the field.”
As for the injury to his starting quarterback, Buckley said it did not appear to be serious, but Oakland was taken to the hospital as a precaution. Buckley said the early indication was Oakland suffered a stinger in his neck or shoulder area.
The Red Devils travel to Miles City next Friday for a tilt with the Cowboys.
Reach Jason Stuart at email@example.com.
Sidney 0 0 14 20 - 34
DCHS 0 0 0 7 - 7
DCHS team stats: Passing - 227; Rushing - 93; Total - 320
DCHS Individual stats: QB Carson Oakland, 18-33-188, INT; RB Tai Sokoloski, 21-62; WR Dennis Berg, 4-85, TD; WR Bret Vester, 6-80
Sidney team stats: Passing - 155; Rushing -134; Total - 289
Sidney Individual stats: QB Gresh Jones, 7-10-140, 2 TD; RB Bridger Coffman, 21-116, 2 TD; WR Cody Johnson, 4-115, TD