By Rob Kiser
It is the question that has probably been asked 1,000 times.
What does Piqua have to do to make the Division III, Region 12 playoffs?
Well the simple answer — and the one I am sure the approach the Piqua football team will take this week — is beat Troy, then worry about the math.
But, if you want a more specific answer — and I am no mathematician, so I can’t be precise — I can say if 9-0 Goshen beats 7-2 New Richmond and 8-1 St. Marys beats 6-3 Wapakoneta — Piqua is as close as it can get to controlling its own destiny.
The bottom line is, beat Troy.
And with the playoff possibilities, a share of the conference title if Piqua wins and the series between the two schools tied at 63-63-6, what more could you really ask for to finish the season?
But, before Piqua-Troy week gets underway, lets take a look back at another impressive win for the Indians.
Fourth-Quarter Heroes: For the second straight week, Piqua entered the fourth quarter trailing. And like they did against Vandalia-Butler, the defense turned in a shutout after allowing four TDs in the first three quarters — and the offense responded with two TDs to win the game.
What Didn’t He Do: Austin Davis’ amazing season got even better Friday night. Not only did he have a 45-yard TD run to seal the victory, he was rifle-sharp in the passing game with 17 completions in 19 attempts for 230 yards. Davis spread the ball around to six different receivers.
His season numbers are now 116 completions in 179 attempts for 1,757 yards, with a staggering 25 TDs against just three interceptions for a 190 quarterback rating.
To The Top of List: Hayden Schrubb, who along with Davis is rewriting the record books, now holds the Piqua single season and career records for receiving yardage. Schrubb caught five passes for 87 yards Friday night and now has 51 receptions for 891 yards and 15 touchdowns this season.
Pound The Rock With Ben: When Piqua got ball back at the 10-yard line and a 33-28 late in the fourth quarter, it was no secret where the ball was going. Ben Schmiesing had his number called on seven of the eight plays before Davis’ big run, including two runs for first downs on third down. Schmiesing finished with 155 yards rushing on 20 carries.
Stepping Up When It Counts: The Piqua defense may have given up some yards and points, but with Piqua clinging to a 33-28 lead in the fourth quarter, the Indians D forced punts on two straight possessions.
The first came when Piqua converged on the always dangerous Cole Barhorst on a third-and-six play. After Barhorst caught a short pass, Piqua tackled him for no gain.
On the second, Tipp quarterback Brad Detwiller tried a roll out on second-and-eight and Piqua linebacker Mick Karn was there waiting to tackle him for a two-yard loss. An incomplete pass on third-and-10 forced a Tipp punt and Piqua went 90 yards on the game-winning drive.
Getting It Done Up Front: The Piqua offensive line won the battle all night on the line of scrimmage. Not only did they provide a clean pocket for Davis, the Indians rushed for 243 yards on 30 attempts, an 8.1 yard average.
Keeping Game In Front of Them: The Piqua defense didn’t give up the big play to the Red Devils wing-T for the most part, although a Cole Barhorst halfback pass to Russell Ramsey went for 44 yards late in the first half to set up one Tipp touchdown.
“We had that one bad play where we gave up the pass,” Nees said.
Team Effort: It was a “team” effort on defense.
Brennan Toopes had a big game with 12 tackles and a sack.
Schmiesing had tackles, James Congdon added eight and Karn, Jacob Bushnell and Sam Herndon all had seven.
Insurance Pick: Sophomore Makeegan Kuhn continues to shine on defense as well. After coming up with a pick-six against Greenville for his first interception, Kuhn finished off the win over Tipp with an interception in the final minute, then wisely took a knee.
Second Chance: Piqua find themselves back where they were a year ago at this time — only to have its conference title hopes and season end with a loss to Troy.
“It is great to be back in the same position,” Schmiesing said after the game. “But, we are looking for a different finish this time.”
Which is all Piqua is focused on — there will be plenty of time after the game to do the math.
Rob Kiser is Sports Editor for the Daily Call. He can be reached at (937) 451-3334.