By Rob Kiser
SPRINGBORO — Piqua football coach Bill Nees knew the final scrimmage against Springboro would be a good test for the Indians.
And while the Indians did a lot of good things, the final result was a 35-13 loss in three quarters of varsity action.
“It was a good scrimmage,” Nees said. “We had two good tests to get ready for the regular season.”
The Piqua football team got off to a fast start.
Springboro had the ball first and on the third play, the Panthers coughed the ball up with Tristen Cox recovering for the Indians.
On third and six from the Springboro 39, Piqua quarterback Austin Davis found tight end Nate Monnin out in the flat and Monnin rumbled 25 yards for the touchdown, running over several would-be tacklers. Robbie Comstock’s PAT kick made it 7-0 with 9:30 remaining in the first quarter.
That lead would last for exactly 13 seconds, as Springboro ran the ensuing kickoff back for a touchdown to tie the game 7-7.
Piqua couldn’t move the ball on its next possession and it led to Springboro getting the ball on the Piqua 39 after a 24-yard punt.
The Panthers scored in nine plays to go up 14-7 on a 1-yard run.
Piqua again couldn’t move the ball and Springboro went 55 yards on four plays, the last two being passes of 31 yards on third-and-13 and a 28-yard TD pass. The gave the Panthers a 21-7 lead with 11:39 remaining in the second quarter.
“The first pass, I thought we had good coverage on,” Nees said. “And that is one of the best no-huddle passing offenses around.”
On Piqua’s next possession, a bad snap on the punt attempt gave Springboro the ball at the Piqua 17 and four straight runs made it 28-7.
“The thing that happened is we gave them two touchdowns on special teams and we had two penalties on special teams,” Nees said. “That is something we have to clean up. It is hard to simulate in practice, but hopefully we can do that. The score would have been a lot closer if it wasn’t for that.”
Ben Schmiesing then had a 47-yard kickoff return across midfield to setup a 44-yard scoring drive.
Darien Tipps-Clemons had a 12-yard run for one first down, while Allen Schrubb had an eight-yard run for another first down.
On fourth-and-eight from the 11, Tipps-Clemons took a pitch and ran around the left side for the score to make it 28-13.
Springboro then went 73 yards in five plays to go up 35-13.
The scoring play was a 51-yard pass.
Piqua, aided by three personal fouls by Springboro, tried to put a drive together in the final two minutes of the half.
Piqua had first and ten on on the 12, but the half ended with two incompletions.
Springboro was eight-for-nine passing for 136 yards and rushed for 61 yards on 17 carries.
In the first half, Davis finished the half 2-for-8 passing for 29 yards.
Clemons, who had a 14-yard loss on the bad snap on the punt, rushed for 41 yards on 12 carries, while Schrubb rushed for 43 yards on seven carries.
“I thought we had a good night running the ball and we are still working on developing the passing game,” Nees said. “I thought our offensive line did a good job.”
Piqua will open the season Friday, hosting Meadowdale — and look to keep improving from the two preseason games.
Rob Kiser is Sports Editor for the Daily Call. He can be reached at (937) 451-3334.