By Rob Kiser
It was everything last year’s game wasn’t.
Which is good news for Piqua football fans.
The Indians may be 2-1 for the second straight year after wins over Toledo St. John’s and Urbana, before losing to Lima Senior, but Friday night’s 36-28 double overtime loss to the Spartans should leave both the team and Piqua fans feeling pretty good about the rest of this season.
Which is a lot more than you could say after last year’s 61-20 loss to the same Lima Senior team, with much of the second half played under a continuous clock.
Sure, you would have liked to have come out with a win.
And as Bill Nees said, the Indians played well enough to win on both sides of the ball.
But, no matter what, a good team was going to lose Friday night and the Indians just have to build on how well they played.
Two Missed Opportunities: Piqua will lament two big opportunities to win the game after the Indians had tied the game at 20 in the second half.
First, the Indians had a first down on Lima’s 35 early in the fourth quarter.
But, on fourth-and-2 from the 27, a rushing attempt was stopped short, giving Lima the ball on downs.
Then, the Indians had driven from their 20 to Lima’s 17, including a spectacular 33-yard catch by Noah Lyman.
But, the series ended on third-and-nine from the 16 on an interception.
Pick Four: While Piqua gave up 334 yards through the air, no high school defense is built to stop multiple 6-5 receivers.
When you consider Piqua shut Lima out in the third-and-fourth quarters and picked off four passes on the night, it was a good night.
After Ben Schmiesing and Alex Nees picked off passes in the first half, Dylan Cole had two picks in the end zone in the second half to stop Lima drives.
The first came when Jarrett Toopes layed a big hit on Lima quarterback Darius Gordon — the second came when Andrew Lee leaped in front of a taller receiver and tipped the ball to Cole.
Great Recovery: When Darien Tipps-Gordon took a 27-yard loss on a snap over his head when he was attempting to punt, it looked like it would be a tough statistical night for the junior running back.
Instead he finished with 144 yards on 23 carries and two touchdowns, eclipsing the 400-yard mark for the season.
Let’s Do That Again: After Lima scored eight points in its first possession of overtime, Piqua needed to match it.
Following a touchdown run by Elijah Hudson, quarterback Rupert Delacruz found tight end Nate Monnin on a crossing route in the end zone. But, a flag was thrown for ineligible receiver downfield.
So, in much more spectacular fashion, Piqua did it again from the eight-yard line.
Delacruz had to reverse his field as he scrambled, then put the ball where Monnin could make a diving catch to force a second overtime.
Still Special: Piqua’ kickoff coverage units continued an amazing receovery from the pre-season.
Not only did Lyman have one touchback kicking off, the always dangerous Demontray (Boy Boy) Liles was held to a 10-yard average on three kickoff returns, helping Piqua win the field position battle.
Now, Piqua will head into Friday’s game at Northmont with the same 2-1 record the Indians had a year ago — with a very different feeling and bigger expectations for the rest of the season.
Rob Kiser is Sports Editor for the Daily Call. He can be reached at (937) 451-3334.