By Rob Kiser
The momentum hasn’t slowed since the Piqua football team advanced to the playoffs for the first time in eight years last fall.
And the Indians, coming off a 6-5 season, are getting ready to kick into their summer schedule which will lead into the start of practice in August.
“I think so,” Piqua football coach Bill Nees said about the momentum and excitement around the program. “We got back in the playoffs last year and we want to be back in there this year.”
It started in the winter, with the lifting program.
“We had a great winter — we got a lot stronger,” Nees said. “The winter is more about strength. Then, in the spring, we get into more of conditioning and fitness.”
The spring finished off with the annual lift-a-thon.
“If the lift-a-thon is any indication — and I think it is — we have kids who are really committed to the program,” Nees said. “Because, if you are committed to going out and raising money for the lift-a-thon, you are going to be committed to the program. And this was the most successful lift-a-thon we have ever had.”
Now comes the time when the Indians start focusing on football.
“June is a month where we are dealing a lot with kids doing basketball stuff and senior camps,” Nees said. “We have great chemistry with the basketball program and we are just working to getting all those guys where they need to be (while they do other camps).”
First, there several camps and off-season activities in July.
The annual Camp of Champions will be held July 18, 19 and 20.
Grades 1-6 will go from and grades 7-8 will each go from 6-7:30 p.m. each day.
Techniques will be taught in offensive and defensive line play, linebacking and secondary, blocking and tackling, pass routes, throwing and catching, kicking, punting and long snap and running back and tight end.
Registration before July 15 is $50 and registration after that, including walkup is $60.
Checks should be made payable to Piqua Football Dept.
Brochures for the camp are available at both swimming pools, as well as Piqua High School and Piqua Junior High.
“We are focusing more on fundamentals now,” Nees said. “There is a week where we work with the players closely as well as the camps. We have a number of guys back from last year, but we also have some positions where there is some great competition.”
Piqua will be competing in two 7-on-7 passing competitions.
The first is this afternoon at Welcome Stadium and the second will be next Saturday at Northmont, where 16 teams will be competing.
“Those give us a great opportunity to evaluate people at several positions,” Nees said.
Nees is also excited about what he sees at the younger levels.
“We have 75 kinds in the sixth, seventh and eighth grade,” Nees said. “That is one of the largest groups we have had. And we have the largest group of freshman we have had in some time. So, the freshman and JV will be able to play separate games this year. We are excited about that. It shows the program is growing.”
Tippecanoe, who Piqua lost to in the playoffs last year, will be joining the GWOC North this year, while Trotwood-Madison will be a non-conference opponent.
As a result, the schedule will have a different look to it early in the season.
Piqua will host Meadowdale Aug. 26 to open the season, before road games with Trotwood-Madison and Franklin.
The Indians will host West Carrollton and travel to Xenia in crossover games, before opening GWOC North play at Sidney on a Thursday night game to be broadcast on Fox 45.
That will be followed by finishing at home in three of the final four weeks.
Piqua will host Greenville, travel to Vandalia-Butler, then host Tippecanoe and Troy.
And the momentum and excitement are already building.