SIDNEY – The Sidney Cowboys are preparing for their first game of the season.
A new-look Sidney team that is replacing seven starters on both sides of the ball will make a trip nearly 150 miles straight east to Seymour play the Warriors, Friday, Aug. 23 to open the season.
Sidney’s one returning starter is Thomas Wilson. The Northern Iowa commit will lead the Cowboys on both the offensive and defensive line and Cowboys head coach Donnie Sears said Wilson is a good player to lead the team.
“(Wilson) is probably going to be the most dominant player on the field most Friday nights,” said Sears.
Will Oswald and Tyler Hensley are a couple additional players to watch for the Cowboys.
Oswald is a senior who played baseball for the Cowboys this summer after coming over from Rock Port. He’ll start at tight end and Sears is excited to see what he can do.
“(Oswald) is a dynamite athlete,” said Sears. “He has only played one year of football, but he wants to learn. We need to get the ball in his hands as much as possible.”
Hensley is Sidney’s top returning rusher after carrying the ball for 236 yards and two touchdowns as a sophomore. Sears said Hensley will likely start the season at the tailback position.
Sophomore Matthew Benedict takes over at quarterback for the Cowboys.
“(Benedict) is improving daily,” said Sears. “He is gaining confidence in himself, is more comfortable in the offense and in his role at quarterback.”
Sears adds the offensive line is coming around and he has been impressed by his young defense so far.
“When we put (the defense) in different scenarios,” said Sears, “they have responded well and haven’t missed many assignments, which is a sign of a veteran group.”
Sidney’s one new opponent on the schedule this season is the first one in Seymour. Sears said Seymour responded quickly to Sidney’s request for an additional game after Essex announced it would share football with Stanton earlier this year.
The Warriors finished 1-8 last season. They won their season opener by 40 points, but then lost the remainder of their games.
Seymour has its quarterback returning in Wyatt Stansberry. He led the team with 553 yards passing and 875 rushing last season. Seymour had seven other players touch the football on offense last season, and just two of them are back. Jaden Enright returns to lead the defense. He was third on the team last year with 54.5 tackles.
“We don’t know much about (Seymour),” said Sears. “We exchanged just one film. We’re hoping they do some of the same things as last year. It comes down to how we can adapt, how physical we can be and what kind of attitude do we play with?”
Sears said regardless of the outcome Friday, this will be a good building block for his team and introduce many of his players to Friday nights in the fall.
“We’ll have seven of the eight kids that have never been introduced as a starter,” said Sears. “It’s getting those guys into their roles and then see what we have to build on.”
Sidney is one of five teams in Class 8-Man District 7 that open the season with a Week 0 game. Stanton/Essex travels to Murray, Bedford hosts Lenox, East Mills visits Audubon and Griswold travels to Ar-We-Va.
The Cowboys open the home portion of the season during Week 1, Friday, Aug. 30 against Lenox.