By Rob Kiser
Seventeen long years.
The turn of the decade.
That’s how long it had been since a Piqua boys team had come out on top against Sidney on the soccer pitch.
The Indians lifted that gorilla off their back — in most impressive fashion — Tuesday night at Wertz Stadium in a dominating 3-1 win over the Jackets.
And the smallest man on the field made the biggest play of the night to take that Gorilla down.
With 15:15 to go, Piqua junior Brandon Grissom took the ball away from the Jackets after sending the ball to Kaden Jones, Jones sent it right back to Grissom and Grissom drilled it into the far post to give Piqua a 2-1 lead,
“I saw the guys legs opening and I just knew I had to take the shot,” Grissom said. “I just drilled it at the far post.”
Jones was not surprised by the result.
“I knew Brandon (Grissom) was open,” Jones said. “I just sent him the ball and he scored.”
Piqua coach Josh Duncan praised the play of Grissom.
“This has been a tough stretch (three straight losses),” Duncan said. “We hadn’t done a lot of that (finishing on scoring opportunities) recently. We missed some opportunities early, but we did a great job of finishing tonight.”
Jones wasn’t done.
With 9:26.6 to go in the game, Cade Lyman made a run at the Sidney goal.
After crossing to Jones, Jones crossed it back, with the result being an insurance goal.
“It was basically the same play,” Jones said.
Then, it was just a matter of the clock running out — on Sidney and 17 years of Piqua frustration.
“Think about it,” Grissom said. “I have only been alive 17 years. This is the first time in my lifetime we have beaten Sidney. That is amazing.”
And it wasn’t hard to tell how big the win was.
Almost immediately after the postgame handshakes were over, Piqua students made their way on the field to mob the team.
“This is great,” Duncan said. “They feed off each other. The students feed off the team and the team pick up on the students and gets a lift from that.”
After a scoreless first half, it was Sidney who struck first.
Number 13 dribbled through the Piqua defense near the goal, then crossed to a wide open number three for the shot.
But, the game-changer came when Robbie Comstock’s shot was deflected by Sidney, only to have Ethan Heidenrich follow it with a tying goal to make it 1-1 with 23:12 remaining and start Piqua on its way.
“You could just feel it,” Duncan said. “The whole game flipped right there. That completely changed the emotions for both teams.”
“Everything just flipped,” Grissom said. “It just gave us a big lift and you could see by looking at them that Sidney was down after that.”
Wesley Ford was back in goal for the Indians and had eight saves as Piqua outshot Sidney 17-12.
The win improved to Piqua to 6-3 overall and 5-2 in GWOC American action heading to Greenville next Tuesday, while Sidney dropped to 6-6 overall and 5-2 in GWOC American action.
“It is just good to get this monkey off our back,” Duncan said. “We just want to keep going and get a good seed in the OHSAA state tournament.”
Grissom thinks they will.
“A win like this gives you momentum for the next game and the game after that,” he said.
After all, the “Gorilla” is off their back.
Rob Kiser is Sports Editor for the Daily Call. He can be reached at (937-451-3334).