The most important week of the Sidney High School football team’s season lies ahead, and as fate would have it, this is the last week of the season.
Not only does Sidney have to make a quick turnaround after a game Friday, October 16 to then play on Tuesday against Fergus (a make up game), but the Eagles have to also face Hardin just three days later on Friday.
On top of such little time to rest between games, the Eagles have to win both games to get into the playoffs.
If there is one good thing about going into such a tough week, it is that Sidney looks ready for the gauntlet after putting on a dominant performance in a 37-14 victory against Havre on October 16 on senior night.
The defense was constricting and gave Havre nowhere to go offensively, and Sidney’s offense was dominant through the running game, not needing passing plays to even do all that much.
The running game, though, is truly something to admire and look out for during the tough stretch to finish out the season.
Boston Peters, Sidney’s quarterback, did not attempt many passes during the game and did not have to because the running game was so dominant.
Part of the decision-making for so many run plays was because of the rain through the game, making it difficult to throw or catch the ball, Sidney Head Coach Roger Merritt said.
Even if there was no rain, though, it is a fun idea to think that Sidney still could have pulled off that performance on the ground.
“We had some opportunities there, you know the biggest thing there is just the execution on the offensive line,” Merritt said.
The offensive line and the running game have been this good throughout the season.
Sidney has a trio of great running backs in Riley Waters, Tate Wieferich and Aden Graves. Coincidentally, they had all five touchdowns for the Eagles against Havre; Wieferich scored first in the game after catching a pitch from Peters, and Graves scored on a short run in the first quarter, too. Waters scored in the second quarter, and both him and Graves ran in one more touchdown each in the second half.
Wieferich had a couple fumbles and Peters threw an interception on an ill-advised throw, but the offense looked great otherwise.
Considering how ingrained running the ball has been for Sidney this season, the potency of the running game is at a high that will be dangerous for other teams.
Teams know Sidney runs the ball well and a lot, but the Eagles continue to show how great they are at it. It was abundantly clear after the first drive that Sidney was going to run the whole game (especially because of the rain), and yet, Havre could not stop Sidney.
The three running backs present different styles in their game as well, so teams cannot just plan to stop A run; they have to stop three different runs.
Waters uses his strength and size to run over people and break tackles, Wieferich used his speed and size to juke tacklers and Graves uses his speed to do it all.
It would not be at all surprising if the run game is what carries the Eagles through this week and into the playoffs.
And yet, teams cannot forget about Peters.
Sidney does a good job of using different running plays to keep opponents on their toes, but the Eagles use misdirection and play action really well.
Even if Peters just drops straight back for the pass, he is capable of making big throws and has shown that. He can also run pretty well, just adding to the problem teams have to resolve of stopping the Sidney run game.
The Eagles know the task ahead of them and got right back to work the morning of Saturday, October 17 to prepare for two games in four days.
“You know, I don’t know if there’s any getting fresh, we got to just regroup and get ready and go, you know,” Merritt said.
There will be a lot of wear and tear on the Eagles, but the run game will be a big factor of how successful Sidney is.
Look for the defense’s performance too because as it showed against Havre, the defensive line and linebackers are capable of getting all over the field and breaking through the line to stop runners dead in their tracks.
Sidney will know its fate after Tuesday. A loss to Fergus means the playoffs out of reach, and a win means the game against Hardin on Friday is the ultimate deciding factor.