XENIA — The Xenia Buccaneers played an evenly matched game against the Sidney Yellow Jackets Friday evening. The two teams were neck and neck throughout the first half. However, the Yellow Jackets offense doubled down on their stronger passing game going into the second half, securing themselves the win over the Buccaneers, 28-21.
Sidney scored the first touchdown of the match. Quarterback Ced Johnson kept the ball to himself to slip around the Xenia defense and into the end zone.
Both teams were slow to warm up throughout the first quarter. However, with less than a minute and a half remaining in the first quarter, quarterback Tremell Wright found Runako Tucker with a 30 yard pass, resulting in a Buccaneers touchdown.
With 49 seconds left in the quarter, a Sidney fumble put the ball back in the hands of the Buccaneers.
Xenia capitalized on that possession with a long drive down the field. With eight minutes left in the second quarter, Ramon Browder made the final push into the Yellow Jackets end zone.
With five minutes left in the half, Avante Martin of Sidney scored another six for the Yellow Jackets. However, as they went for the extra point, Xenia blocked the kick. The score at the half saw the Buccaneers in the lead 14-13.
The Yellow Jackets hit their stride in the second half, as Johnson ran for another touchdown. Johnson threw a completed pass into the end zone for the two point conversion, putting Sidney ahead 21-14.
With less than five minutes in the half, Sidney’s Izayah Clarke broke away, rushing for 65 yards for another Yellow Jackets touchdown.
Xenia was quick to answer at the beginning of the fourth quarter, as Tremell Wright scored another rushing touchdown.
Despite a beautiful pass from Wright, a penalty dashed the Buccaneers’ hopes of tying the game. With one minute remaining, Wright found Runako Tucker wide open, who dashed into the end zone. However, a penalty was called on the Bucs for an illegal man down field, causing officials to walk back the score. Xenia then was forced to turn over on downs, ending the game.
“We didn’t control the time of possession, and they were really able to throw the ball,” said Coach Trace Smitherman. “Late in the third quarter, they got that big one right after we scored. That really hurt us. But our kids do what they do best, they fought back.”
When asked if throwing the ball was something Xenia could build on, Smitherman said that though Xenia has a strong running game, improving the boys’ passing skills gives the team more options.
“It’s nice because we’ve got guys outside that can catch it,” Smitherman said. “Tremell Wright did a real good job throwing the football tonight, so it gives us an opportunity to do multiple things. But we’re just learning. We’ve got a lot of young guys and we’re just learning.”
Reach London Bishop at (937) 502-4532
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