MARION — Many eyebrows probably raised when local high school football fans saw Elgin playing Bradford Saturday at Sidney on their schedules this fall.
The schedules are correct. Elgin’s Comets (1-0) will play a football game at 7 p.m. Saturday against Bradford’s Railroaders (0-1) at Sidney Memorial Stadium.
Bradford is a Division VII school in west-central Ohio, located between Piqua and Greenville in Miami County.
The game at Sidney, which is north of Piqua on I-75, will have Elgin traveling about one hour and 15 minutes and the Railroaders hitting the road for about 45 minutes.
So why play Bradford in the first place, and why play the Railroaders at Sidney?
“We had a week 2 opening on our schedule and we were looking for a school of similar size that would provide a competitive game,” said Elgin athletic director Jason Hix. “Bradford was also looking for a game.”
Bradford wouldn’t have been able to provide a competitive game last season. The Railroaders were down to 17 players in grades 7 through 12 and were forced to play a JV schedule.
They came back to varsity football last week after their numbers increased and dropped a 21-0 decision to New Bremen, which was winless a year ago.
So why play at Sidney?
“Both schools needed a home game, and neither wanted to make a real long trip and give up a home game (and its gate receipts),” Hix said.
Sidney and its rejuvenated Memorial Stadium complete with turf looked to be a good site, Hix said.
“I called Sidney’s athletic director, Mitch Hoying, and said Elgin wanted to play this game there,” Hix said. “Before I got anything more said, Mitch asked what weekend we were looking at, and that they would be happy to host the game.”
Sidney High School uses the stadium on Friday nights and Sidney Lehman has home games there on Saturdays, but Lehman is on the road this weekend.
“Sidney charged us a very reasonable rental fee,” Hix said. “We and Bradford are splitting up duties such as chain gang, press box and ticket takers. After expenses are taken off of the top, we and Bradford will split the gate receipts.
“We did not want to drive two to three hours and not make any money.”
Hix dealt with a familiar voice when talking with Bradford officials. The Railroaders’ athletic director is John McGiffin, who was formerly the AD at Buckeye Valley.
The game will be the second nonFriday game in as many weeks for the Comets. Last week, they kicked off their season with a 49-13 win at Ridgedale on Thursday night.
“Playing these games on these nights has made it a challenging week for our coaches, and Derek (Elgin head coach Derek Katris) has been more concerned with the difference in routine,” Hix said. “We are anxiously awaiting the routine of an MOAC schedule.”
The Comets also will visit the traveling Vietnam Veterans Wall which is on display in Sidney.
Speaking of traveling, Pleasant will do the same for the second week in a row Friday.
The Spartans, who won at Cole Grove Dawson-Bryant 35-12 last Friday down by the Ohio River, head south again for a game at Cincinnati Country Day (1-0).
Last week, in a 35-12 conquest of Dawson-Bryant, quarterback Joe Craycraft had quite a day with 299 passing yards and 68 rushing yards. He ran for a trio of touchdowns and tossed TD passes of 76 yards to Hayden Craycraft and of 11 yards to Nico Sansotta.
Hayden Craycraft wound up with five catches for 122 yards and Sansotta had eight grabs for 103 yards. Brady Thomson was perfect on five PAT kicks.
Despite the win, Pleasant’s defense did allow 340 rushing yards.
The Spartans will play a Country Day squad which defeated Bethel-Tate 38-14 last week. Nicholas Sam tallied a pair of TDs for the Indians in that contest, on a 37-yard pass and on a 35-yard run.
A team from the Mid Ohio Athletic Conference once again played a Thursday night game this week. Jonathan Alder hosted West Jefferson in a game which had not concluded by the Star’s deadline Thursday night.
In other area games which will be played on Friday, Marion Harding (0-1) travels to Lima Senior (1-0); Ridgedale (0-1) hosts Wynford (0-1) in a Northern 10 Conference lidlifter; River Valley (1-0) entertains Madison Comprehensive (0-1) from Mansfield; North Union (1-0) is at Triad (0-1); Cardington-Lincoln (0-1) plays at Riverdale (0-1); Buckeye Valley (0-1) hosts Columbus Whetstone (0-1); Centerburg (1-0) is at Lucas (1-0); East Knox (0-1) entertains Utica (0-1); Fredericktown (1-0) is at home against Danville (1-0); Fairbanks (0-1) is at Mechanicsburg (1-0); Highland (0-1) hosts Heath (1-0); Mount Gilead (0-1) hosts Ridgemont (1-0); Northmor (0-1) is at Worthington Christian (1-0); and Galion (1-0) will host the Columbus Crusaders (1-0).
THIS WEEK’S SCHEDULE
Marion Harding at Lima Senior, 7 p.m.; Pleasant at Cincinnati Country Day, 7:30 p.m.; Wynford at Ridgedale, 7 p.m.; Madison Comprehensive at River Valley, 7 p.m.; North Union at Triad, 7 p.m.; Cardington-Lincoln at Riverdale, 7 p.m.; Whetstone at Buckeye Valley, 7 p.m.; Centerburg at Lucas, 7 p.m.; Utica at East Knox, 7 p.m.; Danville at Fredericktown, 7 p.m.; Fairbanks at Mechanicsburg, 7 p.m.; Heath at Highland, 7 p.m.; Ridgemont at Mount Gilead, 7 p.m.; Northmor at Worthington Christian, 7 p.m.; Columbus Crusaders at Galion, 7 p.m.
Elgin vs. Bradford at Sidney, 7 p.m.