By Rob Kiser
It is a safe bet that the Piqua football team hasn’t forgotten last year’s game with Franklin.
Not, so much because of the 30-6 loss to the Wildcats, but because of the way the Indians performed on the field.
“I think when you look at the films, our players will tell you that was by far our worst game of the season,” Piqua football coach Bill Nees said. “And I think any Piqua football fan you talk to would agree with that.”
And this matchup is one of the biggest of the season in the D-III, Region 12 with the computer points at stake.
“It is big points,” Nees said. “It is a big game.”
Franklin has not lost a regular season game since Oct. 30, 2015 against Brookville.
And the Wildcats will present another strong challenge.
Franklin returns its two top offensive weapons in quarterback Braden White and running back Ryan Montgomery, both seniors.
White has been almost perfect throwing the ball, completing 22 of 25 passes for 212 yards and three touchdowns. He has a quarterback rating of 198.8.
Senior Jared Kinzer is his favorite target, catching 10 passes for 119 yards and one touchdown.
The elusive Montgomery has already rushed for seven touchdowns.
He has carried the ball 25 times for 306 yards.
“It is more of a spread offense with a lot of zone reads,” Nees said. “They have the quarterback and running back and a real good receiver. The quarterback is a big kid, he can run the ball.”
Junior linebacker Matt Centers leads the defense with two sacks.
Franklin will mix up their looks on the defensive side of the ball.
“They use multiple fronts,” Nees said. “They will blitz some, but they are smart about it. They are pretty solid on defense.”
Piqua quarterback Austin Davis has put up impressive numbers as well.
Davis has completed 30 of 47 passes for 463 yards, with seven touchdowns and no interceptions, a QB rating of 195.7.
Ben Schmiesing leads the rushing attack with 25 carries for 161 yards and three TDs.
Hayden Schrubb is coming off a 10-catch, 140 yard game against Trotwood.
He has 12 receptions for 190 yards and three TDs.
Cale Meckstroth has caught nine passes for 155 yards, while tight end Derek Hite has caught two passes for 55 yards, both TDs.
“We can throw it short to either side or across the middle,” Nees said. “And we can throw it over the top.”
Mick Karn and Ben Schmiesing lead the defense with 10 tackles, while James Congdon has nine.
Hite and Devon Brown both have seven, while Karn, Bown and Adrian Tory all have one interception.
The Indians faced one of the top running backs in the state last week in Raveion Hargrove.
“The thing is, he can change directions with one step,” Nees said. “You just don’t want to give up the big momentum plays. He got that 55-yard run early in the second half. Other than that, I thought we did a pretty good job on him.”
The key now, after pushing Trotwood to the limit in a 42-35 loss last week, is taking the next step against a similar challenge.
“We want to keep building on last week,” Nees said.
And get rid of the bad taste of last year’s game with Franklin.
Rob Kiser is Sports Editor for the Daily Call. He can be reached at (937) 451-3334.