The Sidney Eagles and Fairview Warriors middle school football teams faced each other, in a showcase of more than just great athletes, but rooted tradition.
Each team was undefeated for the season going into the game.
Eagles beat Fairview, 48-22
Fairview’s Taryn Candee started out the game with a 61-yard touchdown on the Warriors’ opening drive. With the extra points, Sidney found itself down 8-0.
Sidney’s Sawyor Thogersen answered back, running for an 80-yard touchdown after a Fairview turnover with 4:35 left in the first half. Sidney cut down the lead to 8-6.
The Eagles were on the lookout for Fairview’s Pat Hardy, who caught a 34-yard pass for a touchdown with 3:03 to go in the first. The Eagles found themselves in a hole, trailing 14-6 under the Warriors.
The Eagles turned the game around, finding momentum off of a Tyler Hayden touchdown which evened up the score and a Warrior turnover off of a kick.
Sidney’s Trace Jones dominated on both sides of the ball for the Eagles.
Hoping to gain a first down and then some, Jones broke through three tackles which led to a rushing 15-yard touchdown. With 7:01 to go in the second quarter, Sidney found itself up 20-14 over the Fairview Warriors.
Comfortable with how the Eagles were finally playing, substitutions were made on the Eagles bench.
With 4:45 to go in the second quarter, Sidney’s Alec Lovegren added to the scoreboard with an Eagles’ touchdown, making the score 26-14.
With 3:02 left in the first half, Jones recovered a fumbled Fairview pass meant for Hardy and ran for a touchdown.
At halftime, Fairview saw itself trailing Sidney 32-14.
The third quarter saw turnovers for both Sidney and Fairview.
With five minutes to go, Jones made a 48-yard run off of a fumbled Fairview ball. The Warriors forced the ball back with a Lovegren fumble with Fairview’s Edward Luna to recover the ball.
Finally, Sidney’s Parker Dean recovered a fumbled Fairview ball with 3:22 left in the third quarter. Dean’s big defensive drive led to a 35-yard Jones touchdown with Dean running the ball for extra points.
Sidney had a big 40-14 lead over Fairview with 3:15 left in the third.
With no open options, Fairview’s quarterback Tanner Reynolds rushed for an 11-yard touchdown and tacked on an additional two points with another rushing touchdown with 7:21 to go in the fourth. The Warriors had cut Sidney’s lead to 40-22.
To finalize the Eagles win, Jones drove for another touchdown with Lovegren running for the extra points with 3:23 left in the game.
The final score 48-22 was a big victory for the Eagles team.
Attitude and toughness
Coaches Jim and Ben Thogersen know a thing or two about Sidney’s football tradition. As they look over pictures, they take a trip down memory lane, recapping their days playing football.
As coaches for the middle school football program, the Thogersens have had great players pass through their roster over the years.
J. Thogersen recalls Lico Sifuentes, a player that sticks out in his memory. “He’s the best linebacker that Sidney has had,” he said. “He is successful now because he was a hard worker as a kid.”
It’s what makes a player, the Thogersens said. Toughness and work ethic are fundamentals in football, J. Thogersen said. “You can’t teach that to anyone.”
Looking at this year’s football players, both Jim and Ben see potential.
Eighth-grader Brett Norby stands out.
“He has the potential to be one of the best quarterbacks Sidney has had,” J. Thogersen said.
Eighth-grader Trace Jones has also been a hard worker for the team. “He’s a great athlete.”
The family tradition between father and son lives on in seventh-grader Sawyor Thogersen, B. Thogersen’s son.
“It’s fun watching him grow as a football player,” B. Thogersen said who has coached his son throughout fifth and sixth grade as well.
Physical skill and size will only go so far for a player because J. Thogersen says it is about attitude.
“When you teach kids and they listen to what you say, they will go out and perform.”
the program starts here
With two key contributing eigth graders out of the game, Fairview’s football team started off with a disadvantage.
“They were a little intimidated at first playing a big school,” coach Judd Burman said.
Another injury coming late in the game for the Warriors, downsized the team even more.
Burman grew up and graduated from Fairview. Being coached by his father as a younger athlete, Burman continues the tradition in coaching his own son, Braden Burman.
Because his mother and sister still reside in Fairview, Burman moved back with roots still in the community.
Coming back to work initially in the oil fields, an unexpected job in coaching fell in his lap. He offered to simply volunteer to help the team, but Burman was offered a paying coaching job for the Warriors.
The Fairview football program ended up hiring him to assist to head coach Stan Provenza.
The Fairview middle school program is only the start of a much bigger Warriors team.
This year’s varsity Warriors team remains undefeated. Made mostly of seniors, some may be skeptical of what is to come next year.
“When you have a winning program, more kids come out,” Burman said about the future of the high school program. “You can find a diamond in the rough.
“We are not pushover coaches, we are fair and we are fun. These kids this year, they were so easy to coach. We had good leaders as eighth graders.
“We tell our guys that we are grooming them for a state championship. It’s great to win in junior high, but the program starts here,” he said.
Next time you see the stars athletes running for touchdowns or making big defensive stops, just remember that there is tradition to thank for that.