By Rob Kiser
Piqua football coach Bill Nees knows you can not judge the Xenia football team by its record.
So, the 2-2 Indians are preparing for a tough battle when they travel south to play the 0-4 Bucs on the newly installed turf at Cox Field.
Xenia’s four losses have come to teams with a combined record of 12-4 in Beavercreek, Kings, Alter and Sidney.
“Xenia has traditionally looked to schedule the toughest teams they can find to get ready for their league schedule,” Nees said. “One year they played Moeller and this year they played Alter. So, their record is very deceiving.”
One big concern going in is the explosiveness Xenia brings to the field led by 6-foot-2, 180-pound junior Mechi Harris.
He has 12 receptions for 198 yards and five touchdowns, while averaging 41 yards kickoff returns and 71 yards on two punt returns.
“He (Mechi Harris) is one of the most explosive receivers in the league,” Nees said. “He is averaging 17 yards a catch and has five touchdowns and has returned a kickoff and punt for scores as well.”
He is not the only weapon in the Bucs spread offense.
Sophomore quarterback Christian Severt (5-10, 150) has completed 31 of 82 passes for 341 yards, with four TDs and five interceptions.
Senior running back TeAndrea Adams (5-8, 175) has rushed for 285 yards on 44 carries.
“He is averaging 6.5 yards a carry,” Nees said. “They will run a lot run-pass option. They will toss the ball out wide and get the ball out on the perimeter. They have three offensive lineman back that received some form of all-league honors last year. The biggest thing we have to do is make sure we keep the ball in front of us.”
Defensively, the Buccs are led by the GWOC’s leading tackler in junior linebacker Roman Johnson (6-1, 215), who has 58 tackles.
“They do a lot of the same things we do on defense,” Nees said. “It is based off an even front defense. Their front four is not real big, but they are very active. They do a lot of stunts, twists and things like that. And they have the leading tackler in the GWOC in Roman Johnson behind them.”
Piqua bot back on track last week with a 63-6 win over West Carrollton.
Sophomore Micah Karn (5-10, 160) made his first start for the injured Austin Davis (5-11, 200, junior) and it is still unknown whether Davis will be able to go this week.
“We still have a couple more days of practice,” Nees said. “We will see what happens. The biggest things is we wanted to end the slide (against West Carrollton). Then, we wanted to put our foot down and get things going.”
Senior Allen Schrubb (6-1, 237) and junior Ben Schmiesing (6-2, 197) have combined for more than 600 yards rushing on the season and more than 200 yards in last week’s win.
Junior Hayden Schrubb (6-2, 163) has six catches for 194 yards and Schmiesing has four for 111 yards.
Hayden Schrubb returned a punt 74 yards for a touchdown last week, sophomore Zayne Arbogast (6-0, 226) blocked a punt and recovered it deep in West Carrollton territory, sophomore Cade Lyman had several touchbacks on kickoffs and junior Robbie Comstock made all nine PAT kicks.
“We need to be more diversified on offense,” Nees said. “We need to be able to run the ball and we need to play well on special teams. In both our losses, we struggled to run the ball and we had bad plays on special teams that hurt us.”
Schmiesing leads the defense with 29 tackles, while senior Dylan Cole (6-1, 196) has 26.
Senior Tristen Cox (6-4, 308) leads the pass rushers with two sacks, while Schmiesing has three interceptions and senior defensive back Hunter Hawk (5-10, 158) has two.
“Our defense has played pretty well,” Nees said. “Basically, we have had 12 good quarters and four average quarters. We just need to make sure we go down there and put four quarters together. Our competition just gets stronger every week from here and we just want to keep building on what we did last week.”
Beginning on Friday night.
Rob Kiser is Sports Editor for the Daily Call. He can be reached at (937) 451-3334.