By Rob Kiser
It was a battle to the end in a matchup of unbeatens before Lima Senior came away with a 36-28 win in double overtime Friday night at Alexander Stadium/Purk Field.
“There were just a couple of plays that could have gone differently,” Piqua coach Bill Nees said. “I feel like we played well enough offensively and defensively to win. We just came up a little short.”
Piqua had the only score of the second half on a 73-yard drive in the third quarter, with Darien Tipps-Clemons running 26 yards for the score and Noah Lyman kicking the PAT to tie it at 20 with 4:34 to go im the third quarter.
Piqua stopped two lima drives with Dylan Cole interceptions, one forced on a big hit by Jarrett Toopes.
But, Piqua could not get in the end zone despite several good drives and the game went to overtime.
In the first OT, where teams start on the other team’s 20-yard line, Lima’s Demontray Liles ran 20 yards for the score on the first play and Darius Gordon threw to Reuben Flowers for the PAT.
Piqua was able to answer.
Elijah Hudson ran 12 yards for the score.
On the PAT, Nate Monnin caught a pass from Rupert Delacruz to tie it, but Piqua was called for ineligible receiver downfield.
After a great scramble by Delacruz on the second try, Monnin made a diving catch to force a second OT at 28-28.
“It was a great catch,” Nees said. “We had a lot of good things happen.
In the second OT, on fourth down, Jaden Walker ran 12 yards for a score and also ran for the two-point PAT.
Piqua could not score, despite two near completions in the end zone, ending the game.
The first half was a back-and-forth battle.
Lima Senior had the early advantage, before Piqua used a couple interceptions to swing the momentum of the game.
After a bad snap on a Piqua punt, Lima took over on the Piqua 10 and quarterback Darius Gordon threw to Ruben Flowers for a 10-yard touchdown. The PAT kick was wide.
After a Piqua punt, the Spartans struck again.
On third-and-goal from the 11, Gordon lofted the ball high into the corner of the end zone to Flowers to give Lima a 12-0 lead with 2:39 to go in the first quarter. The PAT pass failed.
Piqua then started to get its running game untracked.
The Indians put together a 65-yard drive.
Darien Tipps-Clemons had a 19-yard run on the drive and on fourth-and-goal from the one — on the first play of the second quarter, Tipps-Clemons rambled 31 yards to the end zone. The PAT kick failed, leaving Piqua behind 12-6.
Four plays later, Piqua linebacker Ben Schmiesing stepped in front of a Gordon pass, giving Piqua the ball at the Spartans 41.
A 27-yard run by Tipps-Clemons set up Allen Schrubb’s 10-yard TD run and Noah Lyman’s kick put Piqua in front 13-12 with 9:27 remaining in the half.
On Lima’s next play, it was Alex Nees picking off Gordon to give Piqua the ball at the Lima 25.
Piqua had a third-and-goal at the one, but a high snap in the shotgun led to quarterback Rupert Delacruz being tackled at the seven.
On fourth-and-goal, Delacruz passed to Clemons, but it was tackled at the one, giving the ball to Lima.
The Spartans put together a 99-yard drive.
They used a hook-and-lateral to convert a third-and-14 and on second-and-seven from Piqua’s 46, Gordon hooked up with Flowers again for a go-ahead touchdown. Gordon then ran for the 2-point PAT to make the score 20-13 at halftime and set up some high drama in the second half.
Piqua, 2-1, will travel to Northmont Friday.
Rob Kiser is Sports Editor for the Daily Call. He can be reached at (937) 451-3334.