By Rob Kiser
Piqua Daily Call
The Piqua football defense continued to leave its mark on opponents Friday night against Vandalia-Butler, as the Indians have quickly put their 0-2 start in the rear-view mirror and moved to 3-2 with a 14-7 victory.
Piqua is currently ranked fourth in the Miami Valley League, allowing 251.4 yards per game and leads the MVL in rush defense, allowing just 81.4 yards per game.
Ironically, 0-5 West Carrollton is one of three teams ranked ahead of Piqua in overall defense according to the stats. And the Indians gets a chance to face that defense Friday night.
As for the stats, Piqua junior defensive end Jerell Lewis isn’t necessarily buying into that fourth-place ranking.
Understandably so, considering the Piqua “D” has allowed just three touchdowns in the last four games.
“We have to be the best defense in MVL,” Lewis said after Friday’s win over the Aviators. “We just have a lot of guys out there making plays.”
Piqua PA announcer Doug Hemm described one play as Jerell Lewis and company recording a sack on Butler quarterback Luke Mitchell.
And it couldn’t have been described more accurately.
Lewis led the sack party Friday night with two, putting him second in the MVL with 6.5 sacks on the season.
Senior defensive lineman Hudson Hall, sophomore defensive lineman Caleb Lyons and junior linebacker Ca’ron Coleman each had one each.
“Vandalia has a strong passing game,” Piqua football coach Bill Nees said after the win. “But, our defensive line is pretty good too.”
After the opening drive, which Butler fumbled the ball out of the end zone for a touchback, the Piqua defense responded.
Other than a 61-yard pass that set up Butler’s only score, Piqua stuffed the Aviator offense the rest of the way, allowing only four first downs in the second half — with one of those by penalty. Butler rushed for just 32 yards on 22 attempts for the night and limited the damage on Mitchell’s 202-yard passing night.
Against Sidney, Piqua had a shutout.
And against Stebbins, they only surrendered a touchdown and an early score on an 85-yard pass.
In the last 11 quarters, Piqua has allowed just one touchdown.
“There have been a couple big pass plays,” Nees said. “And we haven’t given up a rushing touchdown (since week one).”
So, it was fitting the game would be decided on Butler’s final drive with the defense on the field.
Butler had a first down on the Piqua 38, when the defense took over.
Lewis had a sack on first down and Lyons followed with a sack on second down.
Just as importantly, senior linebacker Makeegen Kuhn wrapped up the Butler receiver in his tracks on third down to set up a fourth-and-22 with the game on the line.
Mitchell’s throw sailed high and sophomore Aidan Meyer picked it off to seal the win.
Lewis, Coleman and Kuhn led the way with five tackles each, while sophomore defensive backs Jasiah Medley and Braiden Strayer had four each
“It is nerve-wracking,” Lewis said about being out there with the game on the line. “But, it seems like we have been out there a 100 times. And the sophomores, like Aidan Meyer, are playing like seniors.”
Double Duty: Coleman also provided the big plays for the offense.
With Piqua trailing 7-0 in the second quarter, Coleman exploded on a 69-yard TD run.
He added the winning touchdown in the third quarter on a 35-yard run and finished with 157 yards on 15 carries.
“The first play, the safety bit and it was wide open,” Coleman said. “On the second one, I got one block and it was wide open again.”
Getting it done: With the exception of the two plays by Coleman, the offense may not have flashy, but found a way to get it done.
They controlled the clock throughout the second half and won the time of possession battle 27:07-20:53.
“We may not have scored a lot of points, but I thought we did a good in the second half,” Nees said.
Special Teams Special: Once again, Piqua did not allow any big returns.
Punter Austin Burns had a 50-yard punt to force Butler to start its last drive from its 14. Place-kicker Jackson Trombley remained perfect on PATs for the season. He is now 11-for-11 on the season.
On to West Carrollton: While it may look like a trap game — with a big closing stretch stretch with Xenia and Greenville at home, before road games with Tippecanoe and Troy — the Indians are not looking ahead.
“We want to just keep picking up wins and adding to our computer points to try and get to the playoffs,” Coleman said.
And continue the perfect combination of defense, offense and special teams they have shown the last three weeks.
Contact Piqua Daily Call Sports Editor Rob Kiser at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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