By Rob Kiser
It is all you could want in a football game if you wear the Piqua uniform.
The Indians go to Sidney Thursday with a chance for a third straight win, the GWOC North opener for teams with matching 3-2 records, the opportunity to bring the “Battered Helmet” back to Piqua and do it on television, with the game being shown live on Fox 45.2 (channel 995 on Time Warner).
“If you can’t get motivated for this game, I don’t know what can get you motivated for a game,” Piqua junior running back/linebacker Ben Schmiesing summed up pretty well.
Schmiesing (6-2, 197) and senior backfield mate Allen Schrubb (6-1, 237) have been a devastating combo for the last two weeks as the Indians have bounced back from two straight losses by cruising to wins over West Carrollton and Xenia.
“Losing two great players (Darien Tipps-Clemons and Derek Hite) was tough,” Schmiesing said. “Then there was the loss itself to Trotwood. I think we were still trying to find ourselves against Franklin, but everything came together against West Carrollton.”
And that continued Friday night.
Schrubb rushed for 215 yard and five touchdowns on 20 carries, while Schmiesing caught six passes for 81 yards and ran the ball 17 times for 69 yards.
“Those two work really well together back there,” Piqua coach Bill Nees said.
One play signified that Friday night.
When Schmiesing caught a short pass from Austin Davis in the second quarter, he could have taken on the linebacker in front of him. Instead, he had the presence to wait for Schrubb to blow up the linebacker and the result was a 42-yard gain.
“Allen (Schrubb) and I have always had a close relationship,” Schmiesing said. “I saw the linebacker and I knew Allen was right there, so I decided to wait for him to block him. And he ended up destroying the guy.”
It also only took one play for Schrubb to know it was going to be a special night.
His first carry of the night went for 37 yards and a touchdown, capping a four-play 68-yard drive for the Indians.
“It was a great way to start the game for our offense,” Schrubb said. “It set the tempo for the game. Once we get rolling we are hard to stop.”
In fact, Piqua did not punt until the fourth quarter as Schrubb found the end zone four more times in a career game.
“It is pretty amazing,” Schrubb said. “The offensive line and Ben (Schmiesing) just did a great job blocking all night.”
The Piqua defense did a great job swarming to the ball during the game.
While linebacker James Congdon led the way with seven tackles, defensive back Dylan Cole had six and defensive lineman Nathan Monnin added five, nine players on the Indians defense had at least three tackles.
Jacob Bushnell, Hunter Hawk and Coeby Patton all recovered fumbles, two on special teams.
“I thought our special teams made some big plays,” Nees said. “They had a dangerous return guy (Mechi Harris) and we pretty well contained him. One of the squibs even ended up turning into an onside kick that we recovered.”
Two plays have changed the season for Piqua sophomore defensive end/offensive lineman Zayne Arbogast (6-foot, 226) this season — and on Friday, he became the modern day Chuck Bednarik.
Arobogast moved into the starting lineup against Trotwood-Madison after Hite was lost for the season with an ACL injury.
“When I moved back here in junior high, I wasn’t sure I would even play varsity football as a sophomore,” Arbogast said. “You never want to see someone get injured, but I am just out there busting my butt trying to help the team any way I can.”
That role became even larger Friday night when a Piqua offensive lineman was ejected and Arbogast suddenly found himself playing both ways.
“A lot of our guys plays 65 to 70 percent of the team,” Nees said. “Arbo (Zayne Arbogast) was out there for 100 percent of the plays.”
And he couldn’t have been more excited about it.
“I am still learning every week, working to get better,” he said. “The thing I remember Friday night is looking up into the stands when I came off, seeing my dad’s approval. I couldn’t stop smiling.”
And now, he will have the opportunity in a game live on TV, against a big rival and the “Battered Helmet” at stake.
“It is a dream come true,” Arbogast said.
And everything a Piqua football player could ever want.
Rob Kiser is Sports Editor for the Daily Call. He can be reached at (937) 451-3334.