By Rob Kiser
The Greenville’s 3-3 overall record and 0-1 in the GWOC American North might not jump out at anyone.
But, the Green Wave has the full attention of Piqua football coach Bill Nees as the Indians prepare to host the Wave for homecoming Friday night.
“They are one of the most underrated teams around.” Nees said. “Two of their three losses are to teams in the top eighth in the region (D-III, Region 12). They lost to Trotwood-Madison and Wilmington. Other than that they are 3-1. They have one of the top running backs in the league and the fourth ranked defense in the GWOC.”
That running back is senior Logan Eldridge (5-10, 195).
He is ranked sixth in the GWOC with 644 yards on 122 carries, with six touchdowns.
Senior quarterback Kyle Phillips (5-10, 175) has completed 33 of 97 passes for 482 yards, with three TDs and eight interceptions.
Senior Bradley Mead (5-7, 150) leads the receivers with eight catches for 130 yards.
“They like to pound the ball at you with Eldridge, then spread it out and run some misdirection with the quarterback (Kyle Phillips),” Nees said. “They have done a nice job.”
On defense, the Wave will show multiple looks.
Eldridge and senior Justin Brown (6-0, 200) lead the defense with 49 tackles, while senior linebacker Erick Madison (6-3, 200) has 46. Junior defensive back Elijah Moore (6-1, 165) is among the GWOC leaders with four interceptions.
“(Logan) Eldridge is one of their leading tacklers on defense,” Nees said. “They don’t have a lot of guys going both ways, so they are fresh. They play a 50, but they will also use some even front looks. They are just real solid and don’t give up any big plays.”
Piqua, 4-2 overall and 1-0 in the GWOC American North, will bring a three-game winning streak into the game after some early adversity. The Indians are coming off a big 33-13 win over Sidney on Thursday Night Lights, to bring the “Battered Helmet” back to Piqua.
“I think we have settled in (at some positions) and those are the guys we are going to roll with,” Nees said. “I think having an extra day (to prepare) helps. It gives the players an extra day to recover and gives the coaches an extra to go over things and get ready.”
Senior running back Allen Schrubb (6-1, 237) has scored eight touchdowns in the last two games for the Indians and is fourth in the GWOC with 697 yards and 13 touchdowns on 82 carries. Junior Ben Schmiesing (6-2 197) adds 359 yards on 70 carries.
“The offensive line has been pounding it out there and Allen (Schrubb) and Ben (Schmiesing) have both done a great job,” Nees said.
Junior Austin Davis (5-11, 200) has completed 30 of 57 passes for 449 yards and four touchdowns.
Junior Hayden Schrubb (6-2, 163) leads the receivers with 11 catches for 217 yards and two TDs, while Schmiesing has 10 catches for 190 yards and three touchdowns.
The Indians will also mix in sophomore Micah Karn (5-10, 160) at quarterback to keep defenses honest.
“Both quarterbacks are doing a great job,” Nees said. “The great thing about it is both of them are approaching with a ‘whatever is best for the team’ attitude and putting the team first.”
Senior defensive back Dylan Cole (6-1, 196) leads the team with 48 tackles, while Schmiesing has 37 from his linebacker spot.
Senior defensive end Nate Monnin (6-5, 249) leads the pass rusher with three sacks.
Schmiesing has two and senior defensive tackle Tristen Cox (6-4, 308) has 1.5.
Schmiesing and senior defensive back Hunter Hawk (5-10, 158) are among the GWOC leaders with three interceptions each.
“The defense has (taken a step forward),” Nees said. “The biggest thing is they are still giving up the big play. We have got to find a way to stop giving up the big play.”
And Nees is not thinking about the fact Piqua finishes with three of four at home.
“We take it one week at a time,” he said. “Our focus is on getting to 5-2 and then we will worry about week eight.”
And he knows it will take the approach to be successful against an underrated Greenville squad.
Rob Kiser is Sports Editor for the Daily Call. He can be reached at (937) 451-3334.