The Piqua football team has basically been playing playoff football since its 1-2 start.
Four straight wins later, that hasn’t changed.
The Indians, 5-2 overall and 2-0 in the American North, travel to Vandalia-Butler (4-3, 1-1) Friday night.
“I think if you get to week 8, 9. 10 and you have any aspirations of playing in week 11, those are going to be big games with big points involved,” Piqua football coach Bill Nees said.
But, Nees and the Indians know that won’t come easy against a talented Vandalia team.
The Aviators rushing attack is led by junior Logan Flatt (5-11, 185).
Flatt has rushed for 775 yards and nine touchdowns on 120 carries.
“Vandalia has a new coach (Josh Hyatt) and they run a spread offense built around Logan Flatt,” Nees said. “About 100 of his 120 carries are out of the zone (blocking) scheme.”
Junior Treylann Sanders (6-3, 180) has 23 receptions for 460 yards.
He also has returned two kickoffs for touchdowns and averages more than 33 yards per return.
Senior tight end Miles Joyner (6-4) has 21 catches for 258 yards, while senior receiver Aaron Fields (6-2, 185) has 16 catches for 171 yards.
Butler lost starting quarterback Tyler Burley for the season, but sophomore Mason Motter (5-11, 160) has completed 58 of 104 passes with five TDs and eight interceptions.
“They also have three outstanding receivers that have caught two or three touchdown passes,” Nees said. “They are pretty balanced. Their offensive line is real solid.”
Senior inside linebackers Matt Grossman (6-0, 215) and Dylan Sagers (6-0, 215) lead the defense with 61 and 54 tackles respectively.
Grossman and senior Gavin Kohler (6-2, 220) have recovered two fumbles each, while junior Dalton Sharp (6-0, 155) has intercepted three passes.
“They play a 50 on defense,” Nees said. “They don’t blitz a whole lot. Their two inside linebacker are their two leading tacklers, so they are pretty stout.”
Piqua is coming off a 38-6 win over Greenville.
Junior quarterback Austin Davis (5-11, 200) completed 12 of 14 passes for 142 yards in the game after Piqua adjusted to the blitzing of linebacker Logan Eldridge. Davis has completed 42 of 71 passes on the season for 591 yards and five touchdowns.
“Number 33 (Logan Eldridge) was giving us some problems early and had four or five tackles for loss early in the game,” Nees said. “I thought the offensive coaches did a nice job of adjusting and countering what he was doing. I think both Austin (Davis) and Mick (Karn) both are getting more comfortable every week and allowing us to expand our playbook and what we do.”
Junior receiver Hayden Schrubb (6-2, 163) had his biggest game, with seven catches for 108 yards. Junior Ben Schmiesing (6-2, 197) has 12 receptions for 201 yards and both have caught three TD passes.
Schrubb has 18 catches for 325 yards on the season, while senior Allen Schrubb (6-1, 237) has 748 yards and 14 touchdowns on 98 carries and Schmiesing has 412 yards and five touchdowns on 82 carries.
“Hayden (Schrubb) is doing a great job receiving, but the biggest thing that he is doing and we compliment him all the time on is he is catching every punt. If you are doing that, you are saving 75-80 yards.”
The Piqua defense pulled off a rare feet, scoring 18 points in the second quarter.
Senior defensive back Dylan Cole (6-1, 96) and Schmiesing both had pick 6s, while the Indians also recorded two safeties. Cole leads the team in tackles with 57, while Schmiesing is second with 44 and also has four interceptions.
That was pretty amazing because it happened so quickly,” Nees said. “I would have to back and check the record books, but I would so that is the most points our defense has scored (in a quarter).”
A common theme continued with Piqua’s opponent having trouble with shotgun snaps.
With seniors Tristen Cox (6-4, 308) and Josh Potter (6-2, 326) at defensive tackle, that might not be a coincidence.
“When you have 630 pounds standing right over you, I think it can (have an affect on the snapping),” Nees said. “Both those guys do a great job an are pretty quick.”
And along with playoff implications, Piqua and Troy share the lead in the GWOC North.
“It would also be nice to get off to a 3-0 start in the GWOC North,” Nees said.
And continue the drive to be playing football in Week 11.
Rob Kiser is Sports Editor for the Daily Call. He can be reached at (937) 451-3334.