It will go down as the “drive”.
Trailing Tippecaone 13-6, Piqua took over on its own seven-yard line with 6:22 remaining and drove 93 yards for the winning score and PAT with nine seconds left for a 14-13 win over Tippecanoe.
And it was quarterback Mick Karn who found the end zone on both plays.
First on a fourth-and-goal on the one with 13 seconds to go — after two Tippecanoe timeouts, Karn bulled his way into the end zone.
“The offensive line got a really good push in front of me,” Karn said. “I saw they had most of their defensive guys right there. It wasn’t easy but I got in.”
Trailing 13-12, Piqua made the decision to go for two and the win.
“They had blocker our first PAT,” Piqua football coach Bill Nees said. “And to be honest, our PATs had been shaky all season.”
Once again, Karn followed Jerell Lewis into the end zone and finished off an amazing comeback.
“There was a lot on the line,” Karn said. “If we don’t win this game, then the playoffs and lot of other things would have been gone. We had to do it. And Brennan (Toopes) made a great kick out block to give me some room.”
Toopes understood what was at stake.
“That was just a crazy game,” he said. “Coach (Troy) Ouhl told me that was going to be the biggest block of my life. That was amazing.”
And Nees said the scoring plays were easy calls.
“You put the ball in Mick’s hands — with Jerell Lewis in front of him,” Nees said.
Tippecanoe had never trailed in the game.
The Red Devils went right down the field on the opening drive, with Cade Beam running it in from two yards out. Piqua blocked the kick to leave the score 6-0.
Piqua evened the score in the second quarter on a fourth-and-eight from the Tipp 25-yard line.
Karn threw a perfect fade to Owen Toopes, who outjumped two Tipp defenders for the ball. The PAT was blocked leaving the score at 6-6 with 3:17 remaining in the half.
But, Tipp drove and scored with 27 seconds left in the half when Josh Burritt ran it in from five yards out and Ben Sauls made the PAT kick to make it 13-6.
In the second half, both teams had great opportunities to score, but fumbles and penalties kept the score from changing.
“I felt like I kept making mistakes,” Karn said. “I don’t really understand the rule on hurdling (2 15 yard penalties), but it is what it is. I just wanted another chance.”
That chance almost didn’t come.
Tippecanoe appeared to score on second and goal from the two midway through the fourth quarter, but was called for a false start.
On the next play, Brennan Toopes recovered a fumble at the seven and Piqua had one last opportunity.
“You never know what can happen,” Nees said. “They get called for the false start and then we get the fumble.”
Another play Brennan Toopes will probably never forget.
“I think they muffed the ball and I got a hold of it,” Toopes said. “They kept trying to take it away from me and I wouldn’t let it go. Someone told me to let go and I did. Tipp ended up with it and I thought they were going to give them the ball. I was going to be really made if I did.”
Piqua had a penalty on the first play to move it back to the two-yard line and make it a 98-yard drive.
On fourth-and-four from the 13, Nees didn’t hesitate.
“I didn’t want to give them the ball back in that situation,” Nees said.
Karn ran seven yards for a first down at the 20.
“Anytime I am in that situation, I just look for the marker (first down),” Karn said. “In that situation, I was going to do whatever it took to get there.”
Despite limping the entire second half, Lewis ripped off runs of 14 and 22 yards on the drive as Piqua drove down the field.
“The line did a great job,” Lewis said. “And you just have to play through it (the pain).”
Karn had a 21-yard run down to the four, before making the two biggest runs of the season four plays later and on the PAT.
“When he made the run on fourth down early in the drive, you could just feel the whole momentum of the game swing,” Brennan Toopes said.
Karn rushed for 114 yards on 17 carries and completed seven of 12 passes for 112 yards.
Owen Toopes had four catches for 79 yards.
Tipp rushed for 256 yards, led by Burritt who had 200 yards rushing on 22 carries.
Piqua, 6-3 overall and 4-1 in the GWOC North, hosts Troy Friday, while Tippecanoe, 4-5 overall and 2-3 in the GWOC North, plays Vandalia-Butler.
“We lost to Vandalia last week,” Karn said. “We couldn’t lose two in a row.”
And he led the team down the field on the “drive” to make sure they didn’t.
Rob Kiser is Sports Editor for the Daily Call. He can be reached at (937) 451-3334.