By Rob Kiser
Editor’s Note: This story appeared in the Piqua football program earlier this season. Since then, the Indians have earned a spot in the playoffs.
No one can imagine the devastation Piqua football senior Jack Schmiesing went through at the Indians first scrimmage this August — unless they have experienced it themselves.
Schmiesing, the son of Chris and Paula Schmiesing, was coming off two straight solid seasons for the Indians and looking forward to a big senior season.
The 6-foot-2, 197-pound senior defensive end had been a two-year starter for Piqua on the gridiron.
After a sophomore season with 44 tackles and one sack, Schmiesing followed it up with a junior season that included 34 tackles, 3.5 sacks and one fumble recovery, earning second team All-GWOC North honors.
Not only had Schmiesing worked hard with his teammates for a big senior year, he was anticipating playing with his younger brother Ben, a sophomore starting linebacker for the Indians.
“I was really looking forward to playing with my brother,” Schmiesing said.
All that changed on the morning of Aug. 11, early in the opening scrimmage against Tecumseh.
Schmiesing went down with a serious leg injury, which was eventually diagnosed as tendon damage, ending his season and career in football.
Making matters worse, when Schmiesing first arrived at the emergency room, he was given a sense of hope.
“When I first got there, they diagnosed it as a broken bone in my foot and said I would be out about five weeks,” Schmiesing said. “Then later, I found out there was tendon damage that would require surgery and I would be out for the season. This all happened in about a five-hour period, so it was an emotional rollercoaster.”
But, as he always does, Schmiesing found a way to make the best of a difficult situation.
“I go to all the practices and games,” he said. “It definitely helps (having his brother on the team) and it helps just being around the guys and being part of the team. Hopefully, I am helping those guys and I don’t think those guys realize just how much they are helping me.”
As a standout defensive end, Schmiesing can offer pointers during games.
“I played for two years, so I have a pretty good idea what is going on,” Schmiesing said. “If I see something I can help them (the defensive lineman) with, I will let them know.”
Schmiesing also has another talent that might surprise some — he is a licensed basketball official.
“I played basketball through my freshman year,” he said. “I did the workouts in the offseason before my sophomore year, but just didn’t seem to be enjoying it as much. When I heard about it (officiating) I thought that is something, I would like to do so I got my license. Right now, JV is the highest level I am allowed to officiate.”
But, he hopes to continue with officiating when he recovers from his injury and take it even further.
“When I get to talking (with coaches), a lot of them are pretty surprised when they find out I am still in high school,” Schmiesing said. “When I go to college, I can still do intramural games and depending on where I go, I could possibly get game assignments. I would like to officiate at the college level someday.”
Piqua athletic director Chip Hare believes that can happen.
“Jack (Schmiesing) is a great official,” Hare said. “I really believe you will see him on TV someday (officiating in college).”
For now, Schmiesing is the Piqua football team’s biggest fan.
“Of course,” he said about their success lifting his spirits. “I went through summer workouts with these guys. This is one of the hardest working groups I have been around and it is great to see that hard work rewarded (with success).”
And make no mistake — Schmiesing’s contributions are a big part of that.
Rob Kiser is Sports Editor for the Daily Call. He can be reached at (937) 451-3334.