By Rob Kiser
VANDALIA — There will be no mention of the four-letter word (Troy) this week by the Piqua football team.
Piqua hasn’t run off five straight wins by looking ahead — and that won’t change now.
And the Indians have some unfinished business with another southern Miami County team this week.
The Indians (6-2, 3-0) will host Tippecanoe (6-2, 2-1) — the same Red Devils who ended Piqua’s season a year ago in the playoffs.
“Our focus right now is on Tippecanoe,” running back Allen Schrubb said. “We are not thinking about anything else. I don’t even know who we play in two weeks. Our focus is on Tipp.”
Good Balance: Piqua running backs Allen Schrubb and Ben Schmiesing showed about as much balance as you can have in the running game.
Both had 19 carries — with Schrubb finishing with 108 yards and Schmiesing with 99.
“Our offensive did a great job and was really getting a push,” Piqua coach Bill Nees said.
Chain Mover: If Schrubb is a Touchdown Maker — and he had three more touchdowns Friday to give him 17 on the season — then Schmiesing is a chain mover.
With Piqua leading 22-19 early in the fourth quarter, a 17-yard punt return by Hayden Schrubb had set Piqua up at the Vandalia-25-yard line.
The Indians were able to get a big touchdown — but only after two fourth down runs by Schmiesing.
The first was a four-yard run on fourth-and-two from the 17 and the second was a three-yard run on fourth-and-two from the five.
“The offensive line did a great job,” Schmiesing said. “You just have to make sure you get past the marker (for the first down).”
Saving Best For Last: While Vandalia contained Schrubb much of the game, his last two runs were for 21 and 38 yards — the latter after Piqua recovered an onside kick at midfield.
Giving A Friendly Push: With third-and-goal from the one-yard line on Piqua’s opening drive, the play call was a simple one. Have quarterback Austin Davis keep the ball and let the 230-pound Schrubb and 197-pound Schmiesing help him into the end zone from behind.
Same As Punt: If Davis was going to throw an interception — and it was his first — he picked a good time for it.
With Piqua facing third-and-long near midfield, Davis was intercepted by Aaron Fields at the Butler six. That lead to a punt from the end zone that Hayden Schrubb returned to the 25 for what would be the winning drive.
Pretty Special: The Piqua special teams came up big in so many ways Friday night.
Not only did Micah Karn average 38.7 yards on three punts, his two second half punts gave Vandalia a long field.
The first pinned Butler at its 10 and led to a touchdown after the Vandalia punter’s knee touched the ground at the one-yard line on a low snap.
The second pinned Butler at its own five and led to a strip by Schmiesing and fumble recovery by Tristen Cox at the Vandalia 34.
On the first PAT of the second half, Karn — the holder — had the presence of mind to run after bobbling the snap and made it into the end zone for a two-point conversion.
On the other side of it, Butler’s first two PATs failed, the turned the ball over at the one when the punter’s knee touched and Piqua held Treylann Sanders to 20.3 yard average on three kick returns, with a lng of 25.
If that doesn’t sound like much, consider Sanders came in averaging 33 yards a return and had taken two back for touchdowns.
Busy Night: Dylan Cole and Ben Schmiesing again had busy nights for the Piqua defense. Cole led the team with 12 tackles, including seven solo, while Schmiesing had eight. Nate Monnin, James Congdon and Jacob Bushnell all had six.
Sweet Victory: It was Piqua’s first win over Vandalia-Butler since 2011, a 21-8 win at Alexander Stadium/Purk Field — which is where Piqua will play its final two regular season games.
“We are just taking things one game at a time,” Schmiesing said. “We are not looking ahead.”
Which means it is on to Tipp — that other four-letter word.
Rob Kiser is Sports Editor for the Daily Call. He can be reached at (937) 451-3334.