By Rob Kiser
Cousins Austin Davis and Hayden Schrubb spent their early days much like other cousins — tossing the football around the yard to each other, dreaming of what might be someday.
Little did they know they would be come the most dynamic passing-receiving combo in Piqua football history.
The two broke three Piqua school records this season — and were honored at the Fall Sports Awards program Tuesday night by being presented footballs by Chip Hare that noted the records.
“That was a complete surprise,” Schrubb, a 6-foot-3, 182-pound wideout with hands of glue, said. “We weren’t expecting that at all.”
And they could have never anticipated what was going to take place on the Piqua gridiron this fall.
Along with recording 37 tackles, recovering two fumbles and intercepting a pass as an integral part of the defense, Schrubb broke the single-season and career receiving records at Piqua.
After breaking the 100-yard barrier in a game for the first time as junior, Schrubb had four 100 yards games this year, including three of 140 yards or more.
In one six-game stretch, he averaged more than 100 yards per game.
His record season of 53 receptions for 911 yards and 15 touchdowns broke the receiving yardage record for a single season.
It gave him 81 receptions for his career for 1,365 yards, another school record.
He finished second in the GWOC in receiving yardage this season.
“To be honest, I didn’t think about it,” Schrubb said. “I think it was week seven or eight —somebody told me I was about to break the single-season record. When you think about all the great players that have played for Piqua, it is a big honor.”
Davis, liked Schrubb, had no idea what was about to take place this fall.
“I really didn’t expect anything,” Davis said. “Like Hayden (Schrubb) I didn’t even think about it until the seventh or eighth game this season.”
Davis — a 5-11, 200-pound quarterback with a rocket arm — had amazing numbers this season that included 126 completions in 200 attempts for 1,821 yards, a new school record and fourth-best total in the GWOC.
He had five games over 200 yards passing this season and the only game he didn’t reach 100 yards was the finale against Troy — played in a pouring rain. Davis suffered an injury in the first series of the game that still has him on crutches, but played through it.
Maybe most impressive, he finished with 25 touchdowns against three interceptions for an amazing 177.7 QB rating for the season.
“No, I never thought I would do anything like that,” Davis said. “That’s just a credit to my receivers of always being in the right place and doing a great job of catching the ball.”
Davis has an appreciation for being in the record book, having grown up watching one of Piqua’s great quarterbacks Justin Hemm, lead the Indians to a state championship.
“For sure, I looked up to Justin (Hemm),” Davis said. “I still remember going over and watching them win a state championship.”
He doesn’t deny having a cousin as his favorite target was almost an unfair advantage.
“For sure,” Davis said with a smile.
“He always knew where I was going to be and where to throw it,” Schrubb said.
Piqua football coach Bill Nees was just happy to have them both out there.
“I think there were times where Dave (Austin Davis) made great throws to help Hayden (Schrubb),” Nees said. “And there were times where Hayden made great catches to help Dave out.”
One thing that hasn’t changed since they were young boys.
“Always,” Schrubb said about being a receiver. “Austin (Davis) always had the arm.”
And there days playing together may not be over yet.
Schrubb will play football next year, but has not made his college choice. Davis has not decided yet between football and baseball.
“It could happen,” Nees said. “We have some colleges this week coming out to look at them. The next couple weeks up to Thanksgiving is a big recruiting period. You never know what is going to happen.”
After this “dream” season, who would want to break the duo up?
Rob Kiser is Sports Editor for the Daily Call. He can be reached at (937) 451-3334.