The Sidney High School football team’s first win is under their belt after a trouncing of Park On September 3, and there was a lot to digest with the team’s win.
Of course, every team has things they will want to work on no matter what the score of the game was, but what Sidney showed was a lot of good.
These are some of the things that stood out the most from the Eagles’ first win of the 2021 football season.
Shades of Last YearQuite honestly, the way Sidney’s offense approached Park and the way the defense was a tough wall that was hard to break, was a deja vu to last year.
Of course, there are some things that are different or modified, and the players doing a majority of the work are different.
Otherwise, seeing the way the team handled itself was like watching the team last year, which is a good thing if that means the playoffs are within grasp again.
Getting into specifics on the offense, Sidney once again has a quarterback that can make accurate, deep passes or take off and gain some yardage or score on with his feet.
Multiple threats out of the backfield are also present again, and there are some receivers who can make great catches down field.
Defensively, the line and linebacker core are going to present a lot of pressure on the opposing quarterbacks and running backs, and the secondary is capable of stopping the passing game.
Some will argue that you always have to change things up, but if the Eagles can have that identity from last season and make it work, then what’s the need for change?
Offensive LineThis is something that head coach Roger Merritt has been paying attention to quite a bit since fall practices started.
The Eagles have a young offensive line this year, both by class and experience, so the line’s performance is something to keep track of this season.
From last year’s team, more than half of the linemen graduated, so some players are getting their first real experience on the line this season.
Against Park, the line did well. They allowed Dean to have time and get good passes off, and they created gaps for the running backs to run through.
A good offense starts with an offensive line, and if the Eagles’ line can hold up this season, they can be looking at another successful year.
StandoutsA lot of different players got to make some plays against Park, but these are the players who had the most impact and who will have the most impact going forward.
Starting with the quarterback, Zander Dean had three touchdowns in the win over Park, and expect him to score many more this season.
He threw a touchdown pass to Grady Nelson, ran a touchdown in himself and intercepted a pass that he returned for a score.
Dean’s a threat in multiple areas and will be key for Sidney this season.
Another standout was Aden Graves, who also had multiple touchdowns against Park.
Graves scored the first touchdown of the game on a run, and in the second half, he broke away for a 43-yard run for his second touchdown.
Graves will also be a big help on defense this season, but his speed and ability to run hard will make him a threat out of the backfield.
The other standout from the Park game was Grady Nelson.
So far this season, Nelson looks like he will be the main receiving threat for the Eagles.
In the Eagles’ first possession, he went up and made a nice catch to set up the first touchdown, and later in the first half, he went up in the corner of the end zone and made a nice jumping touchdown grab with a defender right on him.
On top of that, he is returning as a great edge rusher on defense, so watch for Nelson’s name to appear quite a bit as well.