By Rob Kiser
For one half, Piqua went toe-to-toe with an impressive Troy football team Friday night at Alexander Stadium/Purk Field.
But, uncharacteristic mistakes, untimely penalties and a strong Trojan football team turned a 16-14 deficit at halftime into a 37-14 Troy victory.
The Trojans claimed the GWOC North title with the victory, finishing the regular season 9-1 and 5-0 in North. Troy will host a D-II playoff game Friday night.
Piqua drops to 7-3 overall and 4-1 in the GWOC North and the Indians will wait to learn their playoff fate.
Troy took the second half kickoff and went 65 yards in five plays.
Quarterback Hayden Kotwica found Andrew Ray in the back of the end zone and Jacob Anderson’s kick made it 23-14.
Piqua was unable to move the ball and had to punt.
On the first play after the punt, Kotwica went 54 yards for a touchdown and Anderson’s kick made it 30-14.
Then Piqua, who turned the ball over just six times all year coming into the game, suffered its second turnover on a fumble and Troy took over on the Indians 25.
Three plays later, Josh Browder went 15 yards for the score and the kick made it 37-14 late in the third quarter and ended any Piqua victory hopes. Both teams threatened after that, but neither team would score again.
The game began with an ominous sign for Piqua when they fumbled on the opening kickoff and Troy took over on the Indians 17.
But, the Piqua defense held and Anderson kicked 32-yard field goal to make it 3-0.
Piqua was only able to pick up one first down before punting and after a short kick, Troy took over at the Piqua 39.
Kotwica would run it in from one-yard out and Anderson’s kick made it 10-0 before Piqua came to life.
The Indians put together and 80-yard drive.
Ben Schmiesing had a 34-yard run on the drive and Allen Schrubb rumbled for 14 yards. Schmiesing capped the drive with a 14-yard run and Robbie Comstock’s kick made it 10-7.
Troy then had a three-play, 61 yard drive early in the second quarter.
Kotwica completed a 60-yard pass to Kobe Feltner and Kotwica ran it in from two-yards out.
The PAT failed, leaving the score at 16-7.
Piqua would put together a 76-yard drive just before half, behind the running of Schmiesing and Allen Schrubb.
On second and goal from the 14, Piqua quarterback Austin Davis found Hayden Schrubb open in the corner of the end zone.
Comstock’s kick would make it 16-14 at the break, but that was as close as the Indians would get.
Now, the Indians just have to hope they get good news and have a game to get ready for next Saturday.
Rob Kiser is Sports Editor for the Daily Call. He can be reached at (937) 451-3334.