By Rob Kiser
It is on to Troy for the Piqua football team.
And what a way to go on to Troy.
Trailing 13-6 and facing first-and-15 at its own two, Piqua put together a six-minute plus drive, scoring and adding the game-winning PAT with nine seconds left for a 14-13 victory over Tippecanoe.
“You know we are playing for all kinds of things this week (against Troy),” Piqua quarterback Mick Karn said. “Trophies, titles, playoff spot. All those kind of things. And that wouldn’t have been the case with some of that if we didn’t win this game (against Tippecanoe).
Piqua football coach Bill Nees and Karn never batted an eye when it was fourth-and-five from the Indians 13-yard line.
Karn ran seven yards for the first down.
“We had everything on the line,” the gutty quarterback, who keeps taking one big hit after another and getting back up, said. “I had to do whatever it took to get to that marker.”
Jerell Lewis (6-1, 242-pound sophomore fullback) ripped off runs of 14 and 22 yards on the drive despite limping most of the game, while Karn had a 21-yard run to set the ball up first-and-goal on the four.
And when it came down to the critical fourth-and-goal from one and the two-point conversion that followed, Karn kept the ball with Lewis in front of him.
“You put the ball in Mick’s (Karn) hands — with Lewis in front of him,” Nees said.
And Brennan Toopes, who recovered the fumble to keep Piqua alive and start the winning drive, also had a big kick-out block on the PAT.
“On the TD, the line gave me a great push in front of me,” Karn said. “And Brennan Toopes had a great block to give me a little room on the PAT.”
Don’t forget these plays: In a one-point game, a lot of plays could have changed things.
Like Matt Blankenship blocking the PAT kick after Tipp’s first touchdown, Blane Ouhl’s fumble recovery on the first possession of the second half and the Piqua’s first touchdown, a fourth-and-eight play from the Tipp 25 when Karn threw a fade to the corner and Owen Toopes outjumped two defenders for the ball.
Top Toopes: It will be another tough call for bragging rights in the Toopes families this week.
Owen Toopes can certainly make an argument with the touchdown catch, but cousin Brennan Toopes four tackles, one sack and the timing of the fumble recovery and his key block probably give him the nod. And Grant Toopes, a third cousin, had six tackles himself.
Making Big Plays: Tipp certainly had success on the ground. Josh Burritt had 200 yards on 22 carries himself and the team had 256 yards on 52 carries. But, Piqua found ways to keep Tipp out of the end zone.
Junior linebacker Matt Blankenship led the way with 10 tackles and sophomore linebacker Ca’ron Coleman had seven.
Under Pressure: Tippecanoe quarterback Troy Taylor only attempted to pass five times — completing one of three, with Piqua picking up two sacks. Along with Brennan Toopes, Zayne Arbogast had a sack.
Straightening Things Out: I think most Piqua fans could figure this out, but to be clear. Piqua beat Tippecanoe, not Piqua as my story may have indicated Saturday. And the GWOC North records are 3-1 for Piqua and 1-3 for Tippecanoe.
Now it is on to Troy.
Rob Kiser is Sports Editor for the Daily Call. He can be reached at (937) 451-3334.