By Rob Kiser
With Trotwood-Madison stunned by its first loss in the GWOC North since 2007 Friday night by Troy 21-20, Piqua will likely be facing an angry Rams squad Friday night when the Indians make the trip south.
It was Piqua and Northmont who handed Trotwood handed GWOC North losses back in 2007 — ironically, current Piqua assistant coach Justin Hemm was the quarterback of that Indians team, the last one to advance to the playoffs.
The Indians hope Friday night was the beginning after another such run.
With its backs to the wall after a tough loss to Vandalia-Butler had dropped Piqua to 3-3 on the season, the Indians responded with one of their best efforts — and probably most complete game of the season — in a 48-14 win over Greenville.
This Friday is the biggest game of the season — especially when you look at Division III, Region 10.
Trotwood will remain first despite the loss to Troy — in the computer ratings, while Piqua will drop to 10th.
So, needless to say, there are a lot of points at state for both teams.
“Before we have gotten stung and bounced back,” Piqua football coach Bill Nees said. “Now, we have to build on this and keep that momentum going.”
Room To Run: After a tough night against Vandalia-Butler, the Piqua offensive line simply dominated Greenville from the start.
The Greenville pass rush never got near quarterback Rupert Delacruz and Piqua’s three running backs combined for 329 yards on 34 carries. For those who don’t want to do the math, that’s 9.676470588235294 (might as well be specific) yards per carry.
Darien Tipps-Clemons led the way with 197 yards and three TDs on 22 carries , Allen Schrubb added 81 yards and two TDs on eight carries and Elijah Hudson had 51 yards and a TD on four carries.
Delacruz completed 11 of 15 passes for 114 yards, including a TD pass to Noah Lyman. The numbers don’t lie.
Sometimes They Do: Greenville running back Codi Byrd had 78 yards on 14 carries, which might look good on paper.
But, his 32 yards in the first half included runs of 23 and eight yards.
His other first half carries — 3,0, minus 1 and minus 1.
Staggering Numbers: The 28-7 halftime score accurately reflects Piqua’s domination in the opening two quarters.
The Indians outgained the Wave 265-52 and had 15 first downs to Greenville’s two.
And it was a balanced effort from the defense in one of its best games.
Sophomore defensive lineman Derek Hite led the way with six tackles.
Tristan Cox and Dylan Cole both had four, while Jarrett Toopes, Ben Schmiesing, Allen Schrubb, Ty Carnes and Tipps-Clemons had three each.
Big Swing: Late in the first half, Greenville had the ball trailing, 20-7. A touchdown drive would have given them the opportunity to even the game with opening possession of the third quarter.
Instead, three incompletions ran just 24 seconds off the clock and Piqua put together a 52-yard drive to make it 28-7 at the break.
Tyren Cox caught two short passes to stop the clock and move the chains — setting up a 22-yard TD pass from Delacruz to Lyman, with Delacruz throwing to Nathan Monnin for the two-point PAT.
“Even though we felt like we were in control, I think that was big to make it 28-7,” Nees said.
Keeping It Clean: Delacruz continued to do a nice job of protecting the football, as did the backs and receivers.
“I think that is our third straight game without a turnover, that is a big deal,” Nees said.
Something they will need again this week if they are going to continue that momentum.
Rob Kiser is Sports Editor for the Daily Call. He can be reached at (937) 451-3334.