By Rob Kiser
The Piqua football team’s final tuneup for Friday’s regular season opener with Meadowdale was three-quarter scrimmage with GWOC power Springboro.
The Indians were able to stay close early, but three critical failed fourth down conversion attempts and some costly penalties led to a 35-14 win for the Panthers.
After Springboro converted a fourth-and-one from its own 29 on the Panthers first possession, a 37-yard TD pass made it 7-0.
Piqua answered on its first drive as quarterback Austin Davis connected on 10 of his first 11 passes.
The Indians mixed the pass and the run, before Ben Schmiesing broke through for a 55-yard TD run and Rob Comstock kicked the PAT.
After a stop by the Piqua defense, Piqua was stopped on a fourth-and-one from its 46.
Springboro would then score on its final four possessions of the first half, while Piqua couldn’t’s score again in the opening half to make it 35-7 at the break.
On Piqua’s next offensive series, Hayden Schrubb had caught an 18-yard pass down to the Springboro 24.
But, on fourth-and-nine, Springboro intercepted to end the drive.
Piqua’s next possession was a three-and-out and on the next possession, Devon Brown started things with an 11-yard run before the drive stalled.
The Indians were able to put together a long drive to start the second half.
Ben Schmiesing had a 64-yard kickoff return wiped out by a holding penalty and Piqua had to start at its own eight-yard line.
On second-and-14, Davis ran for nine yards, before throwing to Schrubb for 10 yards and a first down.
Piqua drove down to the Springboro 40, where the Indians faced a third-and-eight.
Davis threw to Cale Meckstroth along the sidelines for seven yards, but on fourth-and-one, Piqua was stopped for no gain.
After a Springboro drive ended in a missed 40-yard field goal, Piqua had one last possession with 3:22 remaining in the third quarter.
An eight-yard run by Arturo Mendoza, followed by a 17-yard run by Scmiesing and nine-yard run by Brown moved the ball down to the Springboro 41.
A 14-yard pass to Meckstroth and 17-yard run by Davis moved the ball down to the nine-yard line.
On first-and-goal, Davis appeared to throw a TD pass to Schmiesing, which was called back by penalty.
On first-and-goal from the 33-yard line, Davis threw to Schrubb for 14 yards, before completing a 19-yard pass to Colin Roe for the TD. Comstock added the kick to make the final 35-14.
Davis completed 17 of 28 passes for 154 yards with one TD and one interception.
Schrubb caught seven passes for 84 yards to lead the Indians.
Schmiesing had 82 yards on six carries to lead the rushing attack.
Springboro completed 15 of 18 passes for 133 yards and rushed 31 times for 240 yards.
Piqua will play Meadowdale at 8 p.m. Friday in the second game of a doubleheader at Welcome Stadium.
Danville and Ponitz will play in the first game at 5:30 p.m.
Rob Kiser is Sports Editor for the Daily Call. He can be reached at (937) 451-3334.