By Rob Kiser
The Piqua football team’s final tuneup for the regular season was not without some highlights Friday at Alexander Stadium/Purk Field.
But, there was also plenty of things to work on in all three phases of the game after the Indians lost 37-18 to Springboro in a half.
The game got off to a great start for the Indians.
After Rupert Delacruz completed a seven-yard pass to Noah Lyman on the game’s first play, Elijah Hudson exploded through the right side on a 73-yard TD run to put the Indians up 6-0.
But, it would be Piqua’s only lead of the night.
Springboro, who scored on all six possessions in the opening half, returned the Indians kickoff to the Piqua 35 and would eventually score on a fourth-and-goal from the 1-yard line and go ahead 7-6.
After a three-and-out, a 14-yard punt would give the Panthers another short field at the Piqua 28.
Piqua would force the Panthers to settle for a 22-yard field to make the deficit 10-6.
Springboro would go 69 yards on its next possession in eight plays, completing a 30-yard pass on third-and-four for the TD, making the Panthers lead 17-6.
Piqua was able to answer with a 52-yard drive to stay within striking distance.
Allen Schrubb had an apparent 43-yard touchdown run called back on a personal foul, but Piqua drove down the field as the first quarter ended.
On a second-and-10 from the Panthers 13, Delacruz lobbed the ball towards the corner of the end zone.
The Springboro defensive back appeared to have the ball, but Lyman took it away from him as they came down in the end zone for a TD, making it 17-12. On the PAT, the pass failed.
The Panthers had a six-play 68-yard drive for a score to go up 23-12, before having a bad snap on the PAT.
Piqua again answered as the passing game began to click.
After the 75-yard drive started with a sack on first down, Springboro was whistled for pass interference.
Delacruz would connect with Lyman on a 17-yard pass across the middle on a third-and 15 play and he hooked up with a wide open Hunter Hawk on a 40-yard TD pass.
The pass again failed on the PAT, leaving Springboro on top 23-18 with 5:27 to go before half.
Piqua then gave up drives of 71 and 55 yards, with a Piqua three-and-out sandwiched in between.
Piqua was unable to score on a drive in the final two minutes, leaving the final at 37-18.
Springboro was 16-for-22 passing for the half for 181 yards and had 125 yards rushing on 17 carries.
Hudson led the Piqua rushers with 83 yards on three carries, while Darien Tipps-Clemons had 38 yards on 11 carries.
The Indians totaled 141 yards on 22 carries.
Delacruz completed eight of 14 passes for 106 yards, with Lyman catching four passes for 62 yards.
Piqua had 35 yards in penalties to Springboro’s 15.
Springboro fumbled twice and did not lose either fumble, while Piqua averaged 26 yards on three punts.
The Indians will open the season Friday at Toledo St. John’s, with a 7 p.m. kickoff.
Rob Kiser is Sports Editor for the Daily Call. He can be reached at (937) 451-3334.