By Rob Kiser
TIPP CITY — When Piqua senior quarterback Austin Davis went to the sidelines, his eyes lit up.
With Piqua leading Tippecanoe 33-28 Friday night with less than a minute remaining and facing third and five at the Tipp 45, Piqua let the play clock run down.
With Tipp out of timeouts, the coaches called for Davis to roll out and keep the ball.
“I knew it was going to be wide open,” Davis said. “It has been all night.”
Davis turned the corner and didn’t stop until he was in the end zone, sealing the Indians 40-28 victory.
Piqua improved to 6-3 overall and 3-1 in the GWOC North, while Tipp dropped to 4-5 and 1-3.
“Coach Ouhl (offensive coordinator Troy Ouhl) made that great call and Austin (Davis) took it to the house,” senior running back Ben Schmiesing said. “That was awesome.”
Piqua coach Bill Nees agreed.
“The offensive coaches talked about it during the timeout,” Nees said. “Then, Austin (Davis) turned the corner and sealed the deal. He had another big run earlier in the game.”
It was a game with not a lot of defense — but when it counted most, Piqua rose to the occasion.
With Piqua leading 33-28 after two missed PATs, the Indians got a three-and-out after having stopped Tipp only one time up to that point, with 8:28.
Piqua was back up to its own 22 and had to punt for the first time with 7:06 remaining.
Another three-and-out by the Piqua D forced another Tipp punt and Piqua got the ball back with 5:21 remaining on its own 10.
“The offense had carried us all game, but the defense stepped up big in the fourth quarter,” Nees said.
Schmiesing said with was a team effort.
“We had been getting pushed around most of the game,” Schmiesing, a linebacker, said. “The defensive line really stepped up — the whole defense did.”
After a Davis pass to Owen Toopes for eight yards left Piqua with a third-and-one at the 19, Schmiesing got the ball.
“Ben (Schmiesing) is a big strong runner),” Nees said.
He popped it outside for nine yards, then converted a third-and-two with a 14-yard run.
“I knew I just had to find a seam,” Schmiesing said.
Three plays later, Davis sealed Tipp’s fate and Makeegan Kuhn would put the icing on the cake with his second interception of the season.
Davis was nearly flawless, completing 16 of 18 passes for 222 yards unofficially with his 24th and 25th TD passes of the season against three interceptions.
Toopes caught the first touchdown pass, while Hayden Schrubb hauled in the second one.
Schrubb had 10 receptions for 89 yards and became Piqua’s single season and career reception yardage leader.
Schmiesing rushed for 142 yards and two TDs on 20 carries, while Matt Blankenship had 26 yards and one TD on six carries. Davis finished 65 yards on three carries.
Now Piqua readies for the biggest game of the season Friday, traveling to Troy.
A win would give the Indians a share of the GWOC North title —and possibly a playoff berth.
“It is great to be back in the same position we were last year,” Schmiesing said. “But, we are looking for a little different ending this time.”
After a big road win over a gutty Tipp team put them in position to do something special.
Rob Kiser is Sports Editor for the Daily Call. He can be reached at (937) 451-3334.
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