By Rob Langrell
Publisher of The Sidney Sun-Telegraph 

Sidney has plenty on the line vs. Alliance

Raiders fighting for playoff spot in Homecoming game on Friday


If all goes according to plan, the Sidney High School football team won’t have to look hard for motivation this Friday.

First, it’s Homecoming for the Red Raiders when Alliance rolls into Weymouth Field for a 7 p.m. kickoff. Second, Sidney is still fighting for a berth in the Class B state tournament – needing a win this week and in the season finale to have a chance at a wild card spot.

“We’re looking to bounce back this week,” said Sidney head coach Chris Koozer, whose team is looking to rebound from last Friday’s 46-14 defeat at the hands of rival Scottsbluff. “We had a real good JV game on Monday (7-6 win over Gering) and a couple of nice practices. We’ll get things done the rest of the week and look to be ready for Alliance.”

The Bulldogs enter the contest 3-4 overall and 1-0 in District B-8 play following last week’s 31-14 victory over Gering. Meanwhile, Sidney is 4-3 and 0-1.

Koozer said he expects Alliance to bring a balanced attack to the contest.

“They do a good job with both the run and the pass,” he said. “They do open it up in certain situations and aren’t afraid to throw the ball. We’ll also see some unbalanced sets that they’ll run behind.”

Alliance senior quarterback Baden Shelmadine is both a threat to run and throw. Running backs Klayton Nordeen and Jack Matulka will be the Bulldogs’ workhorses. Matulka scored twice in last week’s win over Gering.

Alliance will look to Brody Brennan (6-foot, 180 pounds) and Brendan Brehmer (6-4, 185) as its top receivers.

“Brody is by far their best athlete,” Koozer said. “A lot of stuff runs through him. The big plays always seem to go his way.

“Alliance is peeking right now,” he added. “They’re still fighting for a playoff spot, just like us.”

Sidney has had success running the ball this season, averaging 235 yards per contest. It also averages 91 yards passing each game behind senior quarterback Brady Radcliffe.

Sophomore running back Derek Robb has paced the rushing attack, picking up 456 yards and nine touchdowns on 85 carries. Senior Hunter Secrest (91 carries, 402 yards) and Alex Linneman (43 carries, 383 yards, seven TDs) are also weapons out of the backfield for the Red Raiders.

Senior Tyler Wintholz leads the team with 24 catches for 301 yards and three TDs this season.

“We’re still trying to get better each and every week,” Koozer said. “The game against Scottsbluff didn’t look real good last week. We didn’t finish our drives. We have to learn to punch it in (the end zone).”


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