In families, good memories of time spent together are often cherished, especially as the years continue to roll. But, sometimes, conflict arises within a family. Disagreements about plans, actions, or words expressed. If it is that way in a family, think how true that would be for rivals, either individuals or teams.
As I write this, the Troy Trojans and Piqua Indians are getting ready to once again meet on the gridiron. By the official count, it will be the 135th battle between the two high school football teams, with Troy holding a narrow 65-63-6 lead.
Although the cities of Troy and Piqua signed a “Peace Agreement” several years ago, and things are not as bad as they used to be, nor should be. The week prior to the contest and the game itself can be pretty intense, and there have been a couple occasions where disagreements or offenses — perceived or real — led to the “severing” of the athletic relationship.
From 1904 through 1908, the two squads did not compete on the football field. Although there have been several theories through the years as to why, no one living really knows what was chafing the two schools.
One hundred years ago, in September, before the season even started, the Troy Daily News was reporting that Troy and Piqua may discontinue their athletic connection because of friction between the two rivals. Apparently, all was smoothed over, and the season continued with the usual two games. From 1909 through 1924, except for 1910, Troy and Piqua played two games each season, one at each home field.
In 1919, when they were still meeting twice a year, the teams split the games. The Trojans travelled to Rossville on Friday afternoon, Nov. 14. They met at Stein’s Park, which was located east of County Rd 25-A, on the south side of Zimmerlin Road. According to Piqua historian Jim Oda, Charles J. Stein developed his acreage into a park for sports and entertainment. He maintained it until the early 1930’s, when it became Kiefer’s Park.
The two teams both entered the first contest with identical 3-2 records. By winning the rivalry game, it would set either team up for a guaranteed winning record.
In the first battle, Troy contained Piqua most of the game and came away with a 21-9 victory over their rival. Two weeks later, Piqua returned the favor and doused the Trojan’s Thanksgiving Day celebration by winning at Highland Park in Troy by the score of 19-6. The two teams had split the season rivalry, each winning a game on the opponent’s home field. Most of them would shake hands, go home and gear up for the next year. Both teams ended their season with the winning record, and both could claim a victory over the other.
The rivalry games between the two schools were always the best attended contests of the year. Often reports of 6,000 – 10,000 people attending the games was not unusual, especially when both teams were playing well.
The Troy-Piqua rivalry, or the Piqua-Troy rivalry, if you prefer, is the stuff of legend. Maybe it doesn’t resonate too much beyond Miami County in the sense of state ramifications in the way Canton McKinley and Massillon does. But it is recognized as one of the greatest grid rivalries in the state. But for anyone involved, it is THE game.
In years past, sometimes there were antics off the field, or even occasionally on the field which heightened the intensity of the game; although ultimately, the fighting, fisticuffs, etc. damaged the game.
I trust players on both teams will have done everything to prepare for the game and will do everything they can to the best of their abilities in the game, giving it their all until they cannot give anymore. If both teams do that within the rules, then they win and add to this legendary rivalry and the cherished memory of hard fought games that Troy vs. Piqua exemplify.
Patrick D. Kennedy is archivist at the Troy-Miami County Public Library’s Local History Library, 100 W. Main St., Troy. He may be contacted by calling (937) 335-4082 or sending an email to firstname.lastname@example.org