In 2016 when Sidney met Elk Horn-Kimballton in the third week of the season, it appeared that the Cowboys had a decent shot of winning that game. That game went horribly wrong for Sidney and the rematch is Friday night in Cowboy country. It again appears that Sidney has a decent shot of winning.
What's different than last year?
"I'm not sure it looks that much different," said Sidney head coach Donnie Sears. "They look awful big and awful talented. If I see one area where we might have an advantage, it's in terms of playing time and experience for our starters"
Elk Horn was hit hard by graduation, losing six starters on both sides of the ball. That includes nine of the 13 players who made a tackle in last years game as well as everyone who caught or threw a pass in last year's game. Elk Horn's two top rushers are gone as well. The Danes return a grand total of 31 yards of offense from the team that blasted Sidney 53-18 in 2016.
"They are always deep and from what I've seen on film they have filled in the holes nicely," said Sears. "They use a ton of formations, three different players taking snaps and a lot of deception. Figuring out who they line up where and where the ball is going makes you feel like its an easter egg hunt every time they snap the ball."
The Cowboys on the other hand return a mostly intact roster, only losing a couple players on either side of the ball. Quarter back Cameron Whitehead returns, as primary running back Bryson Duncan.
Sergio Rodriguez is one of the best kickers in the area regardless of school size and a solid 190 pound wide receiver to boot. Cody Dupre is a speed merchant and a threat to go the distance every time he touches the ball and excels on defense as well on the live of all places.
"Dupre is fast enough to beat the slower offenseifve lineman and mean and aggressive enough tobattle past a lot of the smaller one," said Sears of his undersized defensive lineman. "He really causeds provblem for the offense and when they adjust to deal with him (Brady) Lorimor and (Thomas) Wilson are free.
Wilson and Lorimor are both well over 250 pounds. Whitehead is a 210 pound quarterback. The Cowboys aren't small this season.
"We really do have some size and we will need it Friday to match up with Elk Horn," said Sears. "I think it will be a close game and in these types of games its great to have a kicker like Rodriguez."
Rodriguez had put every kickoff this season but one in the end zone and made nearly all of his extra points.
"Taking away opposing teams run backs and a nearly automatic seven on touchdowns if you need it is huge," said Sears. "We have a tough stretch of games ahead of us."
The Cowboys play Elk Horn, Fremont-Mills and CAM in consecutive weeks.
"I think this could be a season where the district champ has a loss," said Sears. "I Wouldn't count out Woodbine either and people have to remember F-M was without Jaeger Powers and Blake Hurley so far this season. Hurley is one of the best lineman around and Powers is a playmaker. Their first two games look a lot different with those guys in the lineup."
Kickoff is 7:00 Friday night in SIdney.