By Rob Kiser
Getting off to a 4-2 start…impressive.
Winning a close game with rival Sidney..hard to beat.
Bringing the “Battered Helmet” back to Piqua…priceless.
And Piqua accomplished all those things with a 14-12 win over Sidney Friday night.
“It’s big,” running back/linebacker Makeegen Kuhn said after the win. “Real big.”
And no play was bigger than Brennan Toopes block of an attempted quick kick by Sidney in the second quarter.
The game was scoreless at the time, when Toopes broke through to make the block.
“I was lined up on the nose,” Toopes said. “I just slanted and no one touched me.”
But, he was surprised to see Sidney quarterback Ryan Dunham kicking the ball.
“I thought he was going to pass the ball,” Toopes said. “I just went up to try and knock down a pass.”
Toopes returned the ball 33 yards to the Sidney three and Piqua scored three plays later.
“The ball bounced right into my hands,” Toopes said. “I was thinking I have to get this touchdown. I didn’t score, but we ended up scoring a touchdown.”
Taking control: While the first half was evenly played, the second half was controlled by the Indians — who ended up with a 17:30 advantage in time of possession. Piqua had the ball for 32:45 and Sidney had it for 15:15.
“Special” play: After Piqua’s use of the clock allowed Sidney to have more than a minute at the end of the game, MickKarn had a 43-yard punt that Kuhn downed at the one-yard line, forcing the Jackets to have to go 99 yards with no timeouts in a short time. Sidney picked up one first down, before turning the ball over on downs.
Instant Offense: Karn completed eight of 13 passes for 123 yards, while running 22 times for 141 yards and both Piqua scores. Owen Toopes led the Indians receivers with 95 yards on six receptions. Sidney running back Caleb Harris had 139 yards on 17 carries and Darren Taborn had four catches for 94 yards and two touchdowns.
Big Kicks: Piqua’s two extra point kicks by Karn were the difference. Sidney was without kicker Hallie Truesdale due to injury and missed one PAT kicking, missed a field goal and threw an incomplete pass on a two-point PAT.
Solid Defense: Linebacker Matt Blankenship led the way for the Indians on defense. He had 10 tackles, nine of which were solo. Grant Toopes had seven tackles and a sack, while Zane Beougher and Kuhn had six tackles each.
“I think we had something like eight tackles for loss,” Piqua coach Bill Nees said. “That is pretty good.”
Things To Clean Up: Piqua lost fumbles on its first two drives of the second half and picked up almost 100 yards in penalties. The Indians were penalized nine times for 94 yards and there was one holding penalty that wasn’t accepted. Sidney was penalized two times for 23 yards.
Getting It Done: Piqua’s four running backs combined for 89 yards rushing on 25 carries. Ca’ron Coleman led the way with 47 yards on 10 carries.
Back Home: Piqua will host Greenville in its homecoming game Friday night. And the “Battered Helemt”, which had not been in Sidney for consecutive years since 1980, is back at the Alexander Stadium/Purk Field facility.
Rob Kiser is Sports Editor for the Daily Call. He can be reached at (937) 451-3334