First Victory Over Bison in 53 Years
MCCOOK-- The Beatles broke up. The Boeing 747 was introduced. Over 100,000 people went to Washington D.C. to protest the Vietnam War. The year was 1970, and the Sidney Red Raiders defeated McCook on their way to a Western Conference Championship. 53 years later, the Red Raiders finally topped the Bison again, a long drought finally satisfied by an all-around dominating win. The Red Raiders scored a touchdown in every quarter while the defense held firm, only allowing 192 yards rushing yards compared to Sidney's eye-popping 351 yards, and the secondary shut down the Bison's passing attack, allowing only 4 receptions for a paltry18 yards.
This game could be a harbinger for things to come for the Red Raiders, and although McCook is not as strong as the were last year, finishing with a 10-and-1 record and this year having just two wins five games into the season, the win moves the Red Raiders into a great position for a conference title run, with home games against Chadron and Alliance, and an away game against Ogallala left on their district schedule. Coming up on Friday is the game against Chadron, a strong team with a 4-and-1 record, but with a big 42-to-14 loss against Mitchell earlier in the season. Ogallala and Alliance have not impressed this season, so if Sidney can get past Chadron on Friday, they have a clear path to a potentially undefeated regular season.
Although the Red Raiders rushing attack controlled the game, Sidney's first score came on defense. Junior Landon Riddle picked off a McCook pass on the third play of the game, and Sidney immediately cashed in when senior quarterback Isak Doty found Riddle for a 28 yard touchdown strike, and with about six minutes left in the first quarter, the Red Raiders were up 7-to-0.
McCook was able to move the ball on the ground, but could not break through for points. In the second quarter, Doty again beat the defense, this time making his way around the left end and bolting 89 yards for a touchdown. The teams went into the halftime with Sidney firmly in control, 14-to-0.
Sidney received the ball to start the second half, and on the second play from scrimmage, senior running back Luke Holly broke out a 65 yard touchdown run, putting Sidney ahead 21-to-0. Sidney then put the game away in the fourth quarter, methodically driving down the field on a 12 play 85 yard drive that burned over 7 minutes off the clock. Doty ended the drive with a 7 yard touchdown run, putting Sidney up 28-to-0, and reducing the Bison to just trying to avoid a shutout. But the Sidney defense held again, and turned away McCook's final efforts to get on the board, and Sidney had a pleasant bus ride home, reflecting on their first win against McCook in 53 years and their 5-and-0 season record.
Doty had another outstanding performance, rushing 16 times for 187 yards and two touchdowns. He completed 5 of 9 passes for 99 yards and a touchdown. Senior Luke Holly rushed 14 times for 149 yards and a touchdown, and junior Landon Riddle caught 2 passes for 39 yards and a touchdown. Senior Cole Hanley recovered a fumble in the Sidney victory.
Sidney hosts Chadron on Friday, and if the Cardinals' contest against Mitchell is any indicator, look for the Red Raiders to have success running the ball against the 4-and-1 visitors. Sidney needs to stop Chadron's junior rushing threat Quinn Bailey, who has rushed for nearly 800 yards and 14 touchdowns. Bailey accounts for nearly all of the Cardinals' offense, and will be a challenge for the Sidney defense to contain. Conversely, as the Mitchell game showed, the Cardinals can be run against, and the two-headed monster of Luke Holly and Isak Doty should be able to have success against the Cardinals' defense. If Sidney can pull out a win at home on Friday, they have a pretty clear path to an undefeated season.