By Rob Kiser
The Celina football team is coming off consecutive playoff appearances.
And that difference was clear Friday night at Alexander Stadium/Purk Field as the Bulldogs topped Piqua 21-7 in a three-quarter scrimmage.
Celina also had the advantage of scrimmaging Greenville on Tuesday, while it was Piqua’s first live action of the young season.
“Celina is a team that has been to the playoffs the last two years and we haven’t,” Piqua football coach Bill Nees said. “And we have Springboro coming in here next week and open with CJ (Chaminade-Julienne). So, we better get better quickly.”
Celina rushed for 221 yards on 31 carries in the scrimmage, with the running backs being elusive for Piqua all night. Quarterback Brett Schwieterman was 4-for-5 passing for 35 yards and ran for a touchdown.
“Celina has a unique offense and they did what they do well,” Nees said. “We have to get better in the middle. By that, I mean the second level. Our linebackers have to be able to make more plays. For being young, I thought our secondary played well. But, Celina doesn’t throw the ball. We just had too many missed tackles.”
Piqua struggled to get anything going consistently on offense.
Quarterback Mick Karn and running backs Makeegen Kuhn, Caron Coleman and Jerrell Lewis combined for 176 yards on 38 carries.
And Karn completed five of nine passes for 34 yards.
But, mistakes in critical situations were costly for the Indians — something Nees said was his biggest concern.
“Probably the mistakes,” Nees said. “When you have a penalty, not only are you taking the play away. But, you are also moving backwards and that is tough. Some of the penalties are unavoidable.”
On Piqua’s first series, Karn, Kuhn and Lewis moved the ball down to the Celina 31, before the drive stalled.
After two three-and-outs, Piqua began to move again, but after an 11-yard pass from Karn to Owen Toopes moved the ball to the Celina 38, Piqua fumbled on the next play.
In the third quarter, Piqua put together its only scoring driving.
Coleman had a nine-yard run to the four and two plays later, Lewis blasted into the end zone.
Karn’s kick made it 14-7 and Celina added one more score.
Near the end of the third quarter, Lewis had a 90-yard run called back on a penalty.
“I thought Celina’s defense put a lot of pressure on us, but we have to eliminate the mistakes,” Nees said. “The kids understand that. When they came into the locker room, they knew exactly what I was going to say. We will come back out here tomorrow morning and start working.”
Because, Piqua knows with the two weeks ahead — there is no option but to get better quickly.
Rob Kiser is Sports Editor for the Daily Call. He can be reached at (937) 451-3334.