By Rob Kiser
TIPP CITY — If you had been told before the game, Tippecanoe would have the ball for 12 seconds in the first quarter and three minutes in the first half.
That the game’s only two punts would be by Tippecanoe.
That Piqua quarterback Rupert Delacruz would have a career-high in passing yardage, you would think that the D-III playoff game at Tippecanoe’s football field would have went Piqua’s way.
But, you couldn’t be more wrong as the Red Devils pulled away for a 37-12 win over the Indians, who simply had no answer for Tippecanoe’s speed.
And while Tipp could not stop Piqua’s offense either, the Indians simply couldn’t finish drives — a problem all season for Piqua.
The Indians had the ball for over seven minutes to start the game, but the drive stalled after a 19-yard run by Devon Brown gave the Indians a first-and-goal on the two.
The Indians then went straight backwards, turning the ball over on downs at the 16-yard line.
Tip then ran its only play of the first quarter — as Cole Barhorst went 85 yards untouched up the middle and Dylan Shomper kicked the PAT to make it 7-0 with 4:50 to go in the quarter.
Piqua then put together a 68-yard drive that went into the second quarter, with Delacruz throwing to Hunter Hawk for a 9-yard TD on third-and-goal. The PAT failed and Tipp led 7-6.
Following a long kickoff return by Tipp, the Red Devils fumbled on the third play and Piqua put another long drive together.
Starting on its own 27, Piqua drove to the Tipp 14. But, on fourth-and-goal, Delacruz was sacked for an 11-yard loss to give Tipp the ball at its 25 with 3:05 remaining in the half.
The Red Devils went right down the field with Barhorst running it in from seven yards out to give Tipp a 13-6 lead at the half.
The second half was all Tippecanoe as Piqua continued to move the ball, but was plagued by three turnovers.
Barhorst had a 33-yard TD run, with the PAT kick by Shomper..
Shomper kicked a 25-yard field goal to make it 23-6 and Cade Rogers returned his second interception of the half 70 yards for a score, with Shomper’s kick making it 30-6.
Piqua scored on a 1-yard run by Delacruz to make it 30-12 and the two-point PAT pass failed.
After the Indians fumbled on their own four, Austin Subler ran for the score and Shomper’s kick made the final score 37-6.
Barhorst led Tippecanoe, 10-1 with 184 yards on 14 carries.
Delacruz completed 28 of 37 passes for 286 yards, while Darien Tipps-Clemons rushed for 98 yards on 24 carries.
Piqua finished the season 6-5.
Rob Kiser is Sports Editor for the Daily Call. He can be reached at (937) 451-3334.