By Rob Kiser
For Piqua football seniors Jake Meyer, Mick Karn, Nickoah Medley, Kraig Hemmert, Owen Toopes, Matthew Linn, Dylan Motter, Gavin Miller, Jordan Phillippi, Trenton Foster, Jacob Strayer, Zayne Arbogast, Kaiden Maxwell, Caden Clark, Grant Toopes and Brennan Toopes, Friday night will be their final game at Alexander Stadium/Purk Field.
And what a game it will be.
For the third straight season, the Piqua-Troy game will be even bigger — with Piqua having a chance to share the GWOC North title and get into the playoffs, while Troy is looking for its third straight outright GWOC North title.
“It is a special week,” Owen Toopes said. “There are a lot of things going on — dinners every night and things like that. But, I think you can find a way to focus when it comes time for the game. This opportunity is what you work for all season. So, we just need to bust our butts and find a way to win the game. We have had a chance the last two years. I think we will find a way to get it done.”
Karn, the team’s quarterback as well as being key member of the defense, has had numerous family members play big roles and make memories in the Piqua-Troy game.
”From the time I was a little boy, it was always talked about as the biggest game,” Karn said. “I can remember being in preschool and people talking about it was the game to go see. It is the oldest rivalry in the state. You always dreamed of playing in that game and now that I get to as a senior, it is amazing.”
And while little fazes Karn, he knows it will be a different feeling when he heads out onto the field Friday night.
“To be honest, I get a little nervous (taking the field for the Troy game) And I don’t get nervous about much,” he said. The game and with everything on the line, it is a huge game. It puts a lot on me (being quarterback in the Piqua-Troy game). But, I am a guy that likes to have a lot put on me. We know what is at stake. We just have to do whatever it takes to find a way to win the game.”
And Karn understands it is a week few high school players ever get to experience.
“Absolutely (there is an appreciation for that),” Karn said. “A lot of players never get to play in a game like this. It makes it really special.”
And the Indians don’t plan to come up on the short end for the third year in a row.
“This is what you put all that work in for and why you do everything we have done,” he said. “To have the opportunity to win the game and get in the playoffs. This is what everyone talks about all year — during the offseason, when we are lifting weights. There is just a short break before the season gets started and that is what you are thinking about.
“For sure it is (motivation having lost the last two games to Troy). The playoffs are what you work for. You don’t want to come up one game short. So, you just have to find a way to win the game.”
And if that is not enough, after 118 years and 133 games, Troy leads the series 64-63-6.
“Troy took the lead last year,” Brennan Toopes said. “So, there is that. We want to even it up before we leave.”
And put the perfect cap on a very special week.
Rob Kiser is Sports Editor for the Daily Call. He can be reached at (937) 451-3334.