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Local Sports

September 11, 2013

Sidney keeps moving forward under Matthews

The tapes probably would need a good dusting and someone would have to dig up a VCR, but it would be worth it to see Sidney’s offense in the mid- to late-1990s and early 2000s.

You’d see linemen with splits so close they could wrap their arms around the guys next to them. You’d see the quarterback in shotgun but only a yard or two from the center. You’d also see the quarterback pitch to a wing back and then lead the ballcarrier into the hole, and you’d see plenty of double-handoffs between wing backs.

It was unique stuff and fun to watch.

To see Sidney’s alignment Friday night against Chenango Valley was to be certain the coach who designed Sidney’s old offense had moved on to another school or quit coaching football.

But there was Jeff Matthews, nearly two decades into his tenure on the Warriors’ sidelines. The scary part is Matthews’ appearance hasn’t changed a bit. Somehow, this guy has avoided the aging process that affects all other living things on the planet.

Clearly, though, his thoughts on offensive football have evolved. That became evident when Sidney lined up in a pistol formation Friday night, a state-of-the-art scheme that’s become popular in college football. Even a few professional teams operate out of a formation that normally calls for four wide receivers, the quarterback in shotgun and a running back lined up behind the quarterback.

“We haven’t done that before,” Matthews said of an offense that carried Sidney to an entertaining 42-40 victory over visiting CV. “I think it’s another way to get Bill (Kozak) the ball more often. It makes it hard for defenses to figure out where we’re going.”

Kozak, a senior, thrived in the offense Friday, carrying 25 times for 249 yards and four touchdowns (he also caught a touchdown pass). But it also proved beneficial for senior quarterback Patrick Vibbard. Once Sidney got Kozak established, Vibbard would put the ball on Kozak’s belly, wait for the defense to converge on the speedy and undersized runner, then pull it back and take off down the right sideline for big gains. Vibbard finished with 85 rushing yards to go along with 141 passing yards.

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