By Rob Kiser
It was a good chance to evaluate — and work on conditioning for the Piqua football team Friday afternoon in the University of Dayton team passing camp held at Welcome Stadium and the nearby practice field.
The Indians went 2-2 with numerous players going both ways on a warm afternoon.
“This was a good fitness day for us,” Piqua football coach Bill Nees said.
And while Piqua is a team more likely to run than pass with a backfield led by Michigan State signee Darien Tipps-Clemons, the Indians got some good work in against some good competition.
The Indians opened with wins over Thurgood Marshall and Northeastern, before losing to Division I powers Wayne and Springfield.
For the most part, Nees was happy with what he saw, with a few guys missing due to injuries.
“There were some guys who solidified their starting spots,” Nees said. “And there are some other spots where there is good competition.”
After missing last year with an injury, Austin Davis had a chance to shake some of the rust off at quarterback. The junior took all the snaps.
“There was some up and down,” Nees said. “The thing about this format is you have to things quickly. There really is now way to prepare for what you are going to see.”
Team got the ball on the 40-yard line and had three downs to advance it to the 25 and three more downs to advance it to the 10 and have first-and-goal. Points were awarded for defensive stops and interceptions as well as offensive scoring.
Starting against Thurgood Marshall, Piqua was trailing Thurgood Marshall by one point at half. Thurgood had a touchdown in the early going and 2-point conversion, while Davis hit Hayden Schrubb for a touchdown and Ben Schmiesing for a PAT.
Just after the Piqua defense stopped Thurgood to start the second half, there was a weather delay.
When the teams came back, Davis hooked up with Schrubb for a 40-yard TD on the first play and two-point PAT failed.
Dylan Cole had an interception, before Thurgood intercepted on the next play.
Davis added a touchdown pass to Tipps-Clemons for the final score.
“That is what good teams do,” Nees said. “Come out after a break and have a comeback.”
Piqua had four touchdowns and three conversions against Northeastern, while Northeastern had three TDs with just one successful conversion.
Davis hit Schmiesing for Piqua’s first score, with Owen Toopes catching the PAT.
Davis added TD passes to Schrubb, Derek Hite and Schmiesing, with Jacob Bushnell and Schrubb catching PATs. Bushnell held on despite taking a big hit after the catch.
“We played pretty well the first two games,” Nees said.
Piqua was actually leading Wayne 13-12 at halftime after a 40-yard TD pass to Clemons and a 25-yard TD pass to Schrubb.
But, it was all Wayne in the second half.
Against Springfield, Piqua had trouble getting untracked on offense.
Piqua only TD against the Wildcats came on a pass to Caleb Patton, while Micah Karn — who had a bid defensive breakup earlier on the day — had an interception.
But, the heat seemed to take its toll on Piqua in the last two scrimmages.
“Those are two really strong programs,” Nees said about Wayne and Springfield. And there was a lot of speed out there.”
Piqua will return to action next Saturday, in the Northmont 7-on-7 Invitational, starting at 9 a.m.
Rob Kiser is Sports Editor for the Daily Call. He can be reached at (937) 451-3334.