SIDNEY — Senior Billy Kozak rushed and received for 297 yards and scored five touchdowns Friday night, and the Sidney needed every bit of it.
Sidney opened its 2013 season with a frantic 42-40 Section Four Football Conference non-division victory over Chenango Valley on this pleasant fall evening.
Kozak, one of a few holdovers from a 6-3 squad that graduated 14 seniors, scored on runs of 7, 71, 10 and 18 yards, and scored his final touchdown on a 45-pass reception in the fourth quarter that gave the Warriors a 42-34 lead with 9 minutes, 26 seconds showing on the clock.
“Billy is a big playmaker for us,” Sidney coach Jeff Matthews said. “When he makes people miss like he does, defenses have to start peeking at him and it opens things for everyone else.”
But even with the shifty and speedy Kozak zipping through CV’s defense, Sidney had an equally difficult time dealing with Chenango Valley’s passing game.
CV quarterback Bryan Pert completed 15 of 30 passes for 272 yards, with eight of those completions going to lanky wideout Gavin Ashman for 123 yards and another four to the athletic Anthony Miller for 108 more.
“Heck of a ballplayer,” safety Kozak said of Ashman, who hauled in a 17-yard scoring pass from Pert with Kozak and Brandon Bessett all over him early in the fourth quarter as CV pulled to 34-28 with 11:03 left in the fourth quarter. “It seemed like everything in the air he came down with.”
After that play, CV recovered an onsides kick. Then three Pert-to-Ashman completions covered 57 yards, setting up Aaron Trumino’s 3-yard scoring run with 9:54 left. Sidney blocked the extra point attempt, leaving the score tied at 34.
Starting the ensuing possession on its 33, Sidney quarterback Patrick Vibbard raced 22 yards on a keeper right after faking to Kozak on the first play. On the next play, Vibbard hit Kozak on a swing pass, heading left. Kozak made the first defender miss – as was the norm on this night – and outran the pursuit along the left sideline for a 45-yard scoring play. Kozak then eased into the end zone on the two-point conversion giving Sidney a 42-34 lead with 9:26 left.