By Rob Kiser
WEST CARROLLTON — The sideline told the story in the fourth quarter of Piqua football team’s GWOC crossover game with West Carrollton Friday night.
After two tough losses to Trotwood-Madison and Franklin, the Piqua players were all smiles as the clock ran down on a 35-0 victory over the Pirates to even the Indians record at 2-2.
“It has been a tough couple weeks,” Piqua football coach Bill Nees said. “We needed a game like this and everybody played well. The lines on both sides needed to get going and they did that tonight.”
It didn’t happen immediately as the first quarter was almost gone before Piqua scored.
West Carrollton came out on an almost six-minute drive, before punting the ball to Piqua at its own 20 with 6:21 remaining in the quarter.
Piqua took most of the remaining time in the quarter to go 80 yards with a touchdown called back once by holding as the Indians picked up six early penalties.
“I know we talked about this before,” Nees said. “But, this is something we absolutely have to address. The penalties are killing us right now.”
After a 42-yard TD pass to Hayden Schrubb was called back, Schrubb eventually caught a 21-yard TD pass with 52 seconds to go in the quarter and Robbie Comstock’s kick made it 7-0.
Then, the defense took control.
After West Carrollton had two first downs on the opening drive, the Pirates didn’t have another first down in the half.
On a second-and-three play, Derek Hite hit the pitch man at the same time the ball was arriving and James Congdon returned it 28 yards to the Pirates 15-yard line.
Two plays later, Devon Brown ran 13 yards for a score and Comstock’s kick made it 14-0 with 11:07 remaining in the half and the Indians were on their way.
“We did a great job on the sweep play (on defense) all night,” Nees said. “I thought we really did a nice job stopping them.”
Piqua would then go 47 yards to make it 21-0. After a nine-yard reception by Cale Meckstroth, Brown picked up his second TD on a two-yard run and Comstock’s kick made it 21-0.
Piqua got the ball back at its own 15 with 38 seconds to go before half and ran the two-minute offense to perfection.
A 19-yard run by Brown and 41-yard reception by Schrubb put the ball on the West Carrollton 25 with 18 seconds before break.
Quarterback Austin Davis found Meckstroth for a 25-yard TD on the next play and Comstock’s kick made it 28-0 at the break.
Davis finished the half eight of 12 for 154 yards, with five receivers catching passes. The Indians also rushed for 91 yards in the half, while limiting the Pirates to 28 yards of offense.
“If we can continue to develop things on offense, we are going to be effective,” Nees said.
The final score of the game — on the first drive of the third quarter — was set up by a diving catch by Owen Toopes for 31 yards to the West Carrollton 10.
Ben Schmiesing ran it in on the next play and Comstock’s kick made it 35-0.
That put a running clock in play and neither team scored again.
Brown finished with 98 yards on 12 carries unofficially, while Davis completed 11 of 16 passes for 203 yards.
Meckstroth had four catches for 74 yards and Schrubb had three for 70.
Dakoides Turner led West Carrollton with 32 yards on 13 carries.
The Indians return home Friday to host Xenia at Alexander Stadium/Purk Field.
“We just want to keep building on this,” Nees said. “One game at a time.”
And keep the smiles on the faces.
Rob Kiser is Sports Editor for the Daily Call. He can be reached at (937) 451-3334.