SIDNEY — Dave Ross, of Fort Loramie, discussed the history of the Piqua-Sidney football rivalry when he addressed the Sidney Rotary and Sidney Kiwanis clubs in separate meetings, recently.
“The series started in 1899 and Sidney won the two games played that year, 18-5 and 21-0,” Ross said.
This year’s game was broadcast on television on Fox, local channel 45.2.
“The first Sidney broadcast took place in Xenia back in 1937,” Ross said. “That was just a phone call to the courthouse square area put on a speaker so those that did not attend the game could listen.”
Discussing Piqua vs. Sidney, Ross stated, “The rivalry has been good, but boy did it start rocky.”
Ross noted that starting in 1927, the games with Piqua aew the longest, uninterrupted series of any school on Sidney’s schedule. The overall record stands at 76-38-6, with Piqua holding the lead. The series had been close until Piqua started dominating. The record since 1979 has been 31-5, Piqua.
When many football programs began in the early 1900s, it was common for the home football team’s head coach to be the head referee. Schools eventually got away from doing that, but instead, hired their own officials.
“Eventually years farther forward, you have officials that would be hired by a commissioner,” Ross said. This was all done to try and promote unbiased officiating.
Ross then discussed past newspaper headlines and articles demonstrating how much has changed over time with newspaper reporting. Ross quoted an article discussing the Piqua football program from the Piqua Leader Dispatch from 1906 that stated, “It has been unofficially decided that Piqua will sever all ties with Sidney and Troy on account of the dirty treatment given to Piqua by these two places. That is not because of any fear of contests with the teams of these towns, it is shown by the fact that the Piqua teams are always superior.” Ross then read an article from 1906 published in the Sidney Journal Gazette which said, “It looks as if the Piqua High School football team would have to play solitaire henceforth, or until Sidney, and Troy, and surrounding cities become more civilized.”
Ross also described travel in the early years: “Railroad was common for not only getting the teams back and forth, but also for their rooters.” And another interesting item Ross mentioned involved alcohol during the period when Sidney was a wet county and Piqua was dry.
“Overall the game with Piqua has been a really good thing,” Ross said. “The relationships over time have got better and even to the point where I’d say the relationships got great. And we have a very special bond not only with Sidney and Piqua, but also with Troy and the other three members that are now in our division of the GWOC.”