St. Marys Actively Looking For Week 1 Opponent

With the change to a new league, Sidney is dropping St. Marys from its football schedule and will replace it with Bellefontaine instead, beginning in the 2020 season.
Sports Editor

St. Marys is in the works to find a new Week 1 opponent after Sidney dropped the Roughriders from its annual schedule last week.

The Yellow Jackets and Roughriders football programs have opened their respective seasons against each other dating back to 1900 and every year — except for two seasons — since 1983.

The Roughriders lead the all-time series 35-27-3.

However, Sidney dropped the Roughriders from their football schedule last week when changing to a new league.

"We were surprised," St. Marys Athletic Director Jim Hollman said. "Ever since (Sidney Athletic Director) Mitch (Hoying) and I became ADs, something we wanted to do was keep the tradition going."

Hollman said St. Marys has put out posts online in an attempt find an opponent for the 2020 season.

"The good thing is, we have until 2020 to find someone," he said.

Hollman said their are currently no teams on his or head coach Doug Frye's radar in terms of who they want to play against, but the preferred team would have to be a Division IV team or better.

Sidney is Division II and the higher the Division, the more points St. Marys receives in the computer standings if the Roughriders beat that team.

The teams schools have played each other every season since 1983 — except for the 2007 and 2008 seasons when St. Marys played a home and away game against Piqua.

The Week 1 tradition has also intensified the last few years with head coach Adam Doenges — a former player of Frye's taking over the Yelllow Jackets.

Prompting the change is the fact that the Yellow Jackets are moving to the newly-developed Miami Valley League.

The move to revive an old conference, leaves the Greater Western Ohio Conference in shambles with a number of other schools also disbanding from the conference.

The schools will begin MVL play in the fall of 2019. The 10 schools are currently in the GWOC American League and will play in the conference in the 2018-19 school year. In football, the league schedules will feature nine conference games, then same as the Western Buckeye League. 

Previously in the GWOC, teams only had an eight-game conference schedule.

Now with only one non-league game, the Yellow Jackets will instead play Bellefontaine, who has opened its season against Wapakoneta the last few years, in 2020, thus, leaving the Redskins also scrambling for a Week 1 opponent.

Sidney leads the 111-game series against the Chieftains 59-43-9.

"We are very disappointed Sidney decided to not continue our traditional opening game," Frye said via text message on Saturday. "I thought it was a very competitive series with great crowds.

"We wish Sidney the best and we are actively searching for an opener starting in 2020."

Sidney and St. Marys have played 65 times since they first met in 1900, with the Roughriders losing 39-32 at Sidney Memorial Stadium last season in the latest tradition of the non-league rivalry.