The Sidney Sun-Telegraph - Serving proudly since 1873 as the beautiful Nebraska Panhandle's first newspaper

By Will Korn 

Red Raiders ready for district showdown with Scottsbluff

 


Welcome to district play.

Both the Sidney High and Scottsbluff football teams have rolled through their non-district schedules to an identical 5-1 record. Tonight, the two teams are set for a showdown at Weymouth Field. Kickoff is 7 p.m.

Sidney will be without senior standout running back Chance Anglin for the third straight week with a lower leg injury. Head coach Todd Ekart says Anglin is making progress, but still isn’t close to playing.

The Bearcats come into tonight’s matchup on a three-game winning streak. Scottsbluff is ranked No. 20 in the state by MaxPreps.com and is undoubtedly the strongest team Sidney (No. 16 by MaxPreps) will play in the district, with this game holding serious implications for home-field advanatge in the playoffs.

Last season, these two rivals played a thrilling game, one in which the Red Raiders won 30-20 at home. Logan Lewis shredded the Bearcats’ defense for 305 yards on 35 carries and scored all four of Sidney’s touchdowns.

Scottsbluff is an experienced, run-heavy team that is opportunistic with the downfield pass. Senior quarterback Jackson Hinze has only completed 16 passes in six games but has 324 yards and two TDs. The receiving yardage has been evenly spread out, and while no wideout has more than 80 yards, the catches have gone for big gains.

Sidney’s defense will need to key on the Bearcats’ deep running game. Led by senior Ty Benson’s 823 yards and eight scores on 116 carries, this is a ground attack that will feature several different looks. Junior Brad Johnston has picked up 368 yards on 53 touches and Hinze is the most mobile quarterback that the Red Raider defense has seen this season. He’s scrambled for 349 yards on 47 keepers and has six TDs to his credit.

With Anglin out, Sidney will again lean on what has turned into a fantastic backfield duo over the past couple of weeks – juniors Jake Heeren and Hunter Secrest. The two have combined for 415 yards on the ground and seven touchdowns since Anglin’s injury.

Sidney senior quarterback Lane Harvey, who completed 11 of his 24 passes for 140 yards and the game-winning TD last week at Northwest-Grand Island, will need to be efficient through the air against the Bearcats. Heeren and Secrest don’t possess Anglin’s home run playmaking ability, but instead will bite off consistent chunks of yardage that can make third downs more manageable.

Sidney’s defense did a nice job last week of holding down the Northwest offense when it needed timely stops. The Bearcats’ passing game is much weaker, but less predictable and its stable of backs is more potent than that of Northwest.

With a win against Scottsbluff, Sidney can move to 1-0 in the district with a great chance of going undefeated in district play. Its foes in the next two weeks are Gering and Alliance, which are a combined 1-11 heading into tonight’s action.

 

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