Piqua footballstruggles in1954 season

Duane Bachman

Duane Bachman


FALL 1954

“Roosevelt rammed across five touchdowns in the second half to send Central High school’s Indians down to a crushing 42-0 defeat in the opening game of the football season Friday night at the Dayton High school stadium. A crowd of scarcely 2,000 saw the Teddies turn what had been a 7-0 ball game at halftime into a rout as Piqua’s defenses fell completely apart in the third and fourth quarters.”

“Quarterback Tom Jenkins scored three touchdowns to lead Central High to a 25-12 victory over Wapakoneta in the Indians’ home opener Friday night. Jenkins, running out of the split-T, covered 22, five and two yards in his three ‘keeps’, but a sophomore halfback was credited with the most spectacular play of the ball game. Ronnie Cyphers, starting his first varsity game, put Piqua ahead to stay in the first quarter when he took a handoff from Jenkins on his own 19-yard line and galloped 81 yards to score. Cyphers electrified a crowd of nearly 5,000 fans as he fought his way upfield with the aid of at least four ‘key’ blocks. Clearing the way were Guards Alvin Wheeler and Spencer Neth along with Tackle Jake Butt and Fullback Bob Brush.”

“The Miami Valley League may have loosed a tiger on its unsuspecting football brotherhood when it picked Fairborn to replace Oakwood’s perennial ‘have-nots’ a couple of years ago. This was evident, at least to Central High school’s Indians and a shirt-sleeved crowd of perhaps 4,500, as the Flyers humiliated Piqua 47-0 in Friday night’s MVL opener here.

“It was Central’s worst defeat since the football season of 1951 and one of the weirdest games ever played at Roosevelt Stadium. Fairborn rammed across six touchdowns in the first three periods of play, had three scoring plays nullified by penalties, and battered a meek Piqua team into a state of near-hysteria. It was a sad night for Coach Jack Bickel’s Indians. They fumbled seven times and Fairborn recovered each time. Backfield handoffs went around the field for defenders to grab. Blocks and tackles failed to even slow enemy ball carriers. It went that way until the final gun as fans looked on in open-mouthed disbelief.”

“Halfback Dave Gilbert scored three touchdowns to lead undefeated Greenville to a 45-8 rout of Piqua in a Miami Valley League game at Greenville’s Harmon Park Stadium Friday night. It marked the third time this season that Coach Jack Bickel’s Indians have been beaten by a margin of six touchdowns or more. Piqua was both outmanned and out played. They never quit trying, however.”

“Cox Field became the home of another Piqua Central nightmare, as the Indians fell before Xenia’s Buccaneers 47-6 in a homecoming game last evening at Xenia. The setting definitely corresponded with that of just a year ago. The game was in the most southerly part of the league. The band did not go. The Indians were a heavy underdog. It was extremely cold. However, on that particular night the Indians came home with an upset of Miamisburg. Last night the crew filed in just battered and bruised, wondering what hit at Xenia. Friday’s game was just another to be added to Piqua’s long list of defeats by more than 40 points, but this score could be slightly misleading. Xenia had a 21-6 halftime lead and although they started late, the Buccaneers gathered speed and easily secured the win by midway in the third quarter.”

“The high and low tides of Central High school football sat side by side at Roosevelt Stadium Friday night as Sidney pummeled Piqua 27-0. On sideline benches were the undefeated PHS Miami Valley League champions of 1929. On the field taking their fourth straight licking of the 1954 season were the present day Indians. The champions of that season 25 years ago must have winced inwardly at the plight of Coach Jack Bickel’s luckless youngsters. The Indians made grave mistakes, weren’t even able to cash in on the few breaks that did come their way. The 1929 champions were one of the best teams in Central’s history. Their 1954 counterpart may well become the worst. The 25 year difference embodies matters of attitude, experience and –most important of all—material. A blocked punt on the fourth play of the game put the Indians in a hole from which they never emerged.”

“Piqua’s Indians, coached by Jack Bickel and assisted by Richard Pearson, were handed their sixth setback out of seven games when they suffered defeat at the hands of the Troy Trojans by the score of 18-0 when they played at Troy Friday evening. Fumbling was one of Piqua’s greatest weaknesses during the game, as the Indians fumbled the ball eight times. Troy gained possession of the ball on six of these occasions. Several times the local Tribe moved into good scoring position, only to lose it by fumbling. Troy made two of their three touchdowns by recovering Piqua fumbles. The game was a typical Piqua-Troy game from beginning to end.”

“It was hard fought all the way. Miamisburg scored three touchdowns in the first nine minutes of play and coasted to a 38-6 win over Piqua in the Indians’ final home game of the season Friday. A Dad’s Night crowd of only 3,000 braved the chilly evening.”

Piqua traveled to Fairmont’s Lebanon Pike Stadium to end the longest Miami Valley League in its history on Friday night, trying to make one last attempt to salvage something from a season of bitter disappointments. The Dragons won the MVL title in 1952 and 1953, but have dropped four of six league games in the current campaign. Not unexpectedly, the Indians were not able to stop the Dragon offense and lost the finale, 32-7.

Playing their final game for the Red and Blue were Jack Butt, Tom Jenkins, George Inglis, Alvin Wheeler, Jim Alexander, Jerry Lane and senior manager Orville Scherer.

Duane Bachman
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