By Rob Kiser
The Piqua football team couldn’t have picked a better time for a short week.
With the Indians hosting Vandalia-Butler in a Fox 45 Thursday Night Lights game at 7 p.m. that can be seen on Spectrum Channel 995, Piqua is coming off a game with Greenville where the offense ran just 26 plays in a 42-7 romp over the Wave.
Piqua is also looking to continue its success in “Thursday Night Lights” games after a rout of Sidney last year — this time at home on Senior Night.
“Everybody is fresh,” Piqua football coach Bill Nees said. “This is a big game this week.”
That’s because both the Indians and Aviators need to win out to keep alive any hopes for a postseason berth in D-III, Region 12.
Piqua comes into the game 4-3 overall, while Vandalia is 3-4. Both team are 1-1 in GWOC North play.
The Aviators feature a diverse offense, which can you hurt you through the air or on the ground.
Vandalia junior quarterback Mason Motter (6-0, 170) has completed 72 of 135 passes for 1,166 yards wih 11 touchdowns and eight interceptions.
He has a big-play maker in junior receiver Bryant Johnson (6-5, 175).
Johnson 15 receptions have gone for 512 yards and eight touchdowns, an average of 34 yards per reception.
And when the Aviators want to go to the ground attack, they have one of the best in senior Logan Flatt (5-11, 180).
Flatt is nearing the 1,000-yard mark already,with 113 carries for 898 yards and 12 touchdowns.
Piqua is coming off a strong game of special teams coverage and will be tested again by Flatt and Johnson.
Flatt has a kickoff return for a touchdown, while Johnson is averaging 19.4 yards on punt returns.
The Aviators defense features two of the GWOC’s top pass rushers.
Junior linebacker Jack Akers(6-0, 175) is third in the conference with 6.5 sacks, while junior defensive lineman Quentin Glover (6-3, 250) is fourth with 5 sacks.
Glover leads the team with 45 tackles, while Akers has 36 tackles and has forced six fumbles.
The Indians also have a lot of weapons on offense.
Piqua senior quarterback Austin Davis (5-11, 200) is fourth in the GWOC in passing yardage, having completed 86 of 135 passes for 1,305 yards with 19 touchdowns and three interceptions.
Senior Hayden Schrubb (6-3, 182) is the second leading receiver in the GWOC with 38 catches for 656 yards and 10 touchdowns and senior receiver Cale Meckstroth (6-1, 187) has 22 catches for 357 yards and four touchdowns.
When the Indians go to the ground attack, they have a strong duo in seniors Ben Schmiesing (6-2, 197) and Devon Brown (5-11, 186).
Schmiesing has 65 carries for 405 yards and eight touchdowns, while Brown has 69 carries for 305 yards and five touchdowns.
Schmiesing leads the defense with 64 tackles, a forced fumble and an interception, while junior linebacker Mick Karn (5-11, 172) has 56 tackles, two forced fumbles, a fumble recovery and two interceptions.
Freshman Lance Reaves (6-0, 227) has two sacks, while sophomore Makeegan Kuhn (6-1, 203) had Piqua’s first “pick six” of the season last week against Greenville.
“Everything was executed well against Greenville,” Nees said.
And the Indians will look to continue that — and run their record to a perfect 2-0 under Fox 45s “Thursday Night Lights”.
Rob Kiser is Sports Editor for the Daily Call. He can be reached at (937) 451-3334.