As you may have heard, there’s a little football game taking place tonight in Piqua.
It will be the 132nd meeting between the Troy and Piqua football teams … and this one promises to be a doozy. The 8-1 Trojans will face off against the 7-2 Indians with a division title on the line.
To help get you better prepared for the game, here’s some Troy-Piqua history, from A to Z:
A is for Apple, John: Better known as “The Bomb.” A former Piqua lineman and assistant coach who left us way too early. We miss you, big man.
B is for Brewer, Ryan: The former Troy High School running back and Mr. Football Ohio winner went 4-0 in his career against Piqua.
C is courthouse: The rivalry between the two communities began when Ohio state officials were deciding whether to name Troy or Piqua the county seat — and award a courthouse building to the winner in the 1800s. According to legend, Piqua was the favorite to get take the honors, but officials from Troy took the state officials out for a night on the town that resulted in copious amounts of drinks and even women of ill-repute. Troy would be named the county seat soon after and things have never been the same since.
D is for diploma: What a great series legend. So glad was former Piqua coach Chuck Asher to see former Trojan star running back Gordon Bell graduate that supposedly Asher offered to present Bell with his diploma at Troy’s commencement ceremonies that spring.
E is for Evilsizor, Mark: He was Troy’s starting quarterback in 1992, the only year the Trojans and Indians met in the regular season and playoffs.
F is for Finkes, Matt: He was Piqua’s defensive tackle in 1992 and spent two games chasing Evilsizor and Troy’s running backs before becoming an All-American at The Ohio State University.
G is for Gallagher, Dave: Gallagher was a defensive lineman for “that school up north” (Piqua) in high school before becoming a defensive lineman for “that school up north” (Michigan) in college.
H is for Hartman brothers: Gabe and Herb both were major players for the Trojans in the 1950s. Gabe went on to play at The Ohio State University. Herb would return to Troy after college and become a legendary track and field coach.
I is for indifference: Nobody in either community seems to have much of it when it comes to this game. This game evokes strong emotions … as it should.
J is for Johns, Kevin: He was the Piqua quarterback who led the Indians to a thrilling — and controversial — comeback victory over Troy in 1993. He currently is the offensive coordinator at Indiana University.
K is for Karn: Karn is a legendary name in Piqua football history. It seems like every Indian team for the last 50 years has had a Karn brother, uncle or cousin somewhere on the roster. There’s on the roster this year sophomore quarterback Micah Karn.
L is for Lady Justice: See also, C is for courthouse. According to legend, as a final snub to Piqua, when Troy was awarded the courthouse, is put the statue of Lady Justice atop the courthouse dome with her posterior purposely facing toward Piqua.
M is for mustaches: Former Troy coach Steve Nolan and current Piqua coach Bill Nees took the rivalry to another level in their 21 meetings against one another. Both also have magnificent trademark mustaches on their faces.
N is for Nolan, Steve and Nees, Bill: See the above entry. Both coaches won more than 200 games in their career and both are their respective school’s leader in wins. Oh … and they both have great mustaches. We can’t emphasize that enough.
O is for overtime: It’s only happened once in the history of the rivalry. That was in 1995, when the Trojans won 17-14.
P is for playoffs: That’s also happened just once. That was in 1992, when Piqua avenged a regular-season loss to Troy by beating the Trojans 20-7 in the playoffs.
Q is for Quinn Pitcock: He’s another former Piqua defensive lineman who went on to become an All-American at Ohio State. It’s hard to find something in this rivalry that starts with a “Q.”
R is for Roosevelt Field: That’s one of the former homes of the Piqua football team. In the early 1900s, the Troy-Piqua game was often played there on Thanksgiving Day.
S is for series: It’s the most-played in Ohio high school football history. It now stands at 131 games, with Piqua leading 63-62-6.
T is for ties: That’s happened six times in rivalry history. Since the Ohio High School Athletic Association instituted overtime in the 1970s, there will be no more ties.
U is for upsets: Those happen quite a bit in this rivalry. The last big one came in 2007, when a 3-5 Troy team beat a 7-1 Piqua team 36-35 in what many consider one of the greatest games in the history of the rivalry.
V is for Vaughn, Tommy: The former Trojan went on to become an All-American at Iowa State University. This year, he’ll be inducted in the Great American Rivalry Series Hall of Fame.
W is for win: A win over the other team can make or break a team’s season. Going 1-9 is somewhat acceptable, provided the win comes over either Troy or Piqua. Going 9-1 can be considered a disappointment if that once loss to to your rival.
X is for Xenia: Both schools have, in fact, played Xenia before. Hey, it’s “X” … what do you want?
Y is for years: Troy and Piqua have been playing for 117 of them, dating back to 1899. They have played 132 games in 117 years because, in the early days, they used to play twice a year.
Z is for zebras: Zebras is a nickname for referees. Chances are, you’ll be hearing fans from both sides complain about them at various points Friday night.
Reach David Fong at firstname.lastname@example.org; follow him on Twitter @thefong