By Rob Kiser
Piqua Daily Call
PIQUA — The Piqua football team will look to break one trend and continue another one when Sidney visits Alexander Stadium/Purk Field Friday night for the “Battered Helmet” game.
Piqua leads the series 78-39-6 and Sidney has won just six times since 1979.
But the series has evened out as of late.
Piqua is looking for back-to-back wins for the first time since 2013 and 2014, with 2013 being the last time the home team has won the game.
Fittingly, it will also be Piqua’s first game in the Miami Valley League, since closing the season with Sidney in 1973, a game the Yellow Jackets won.
But, success Friday night, will not come easy.
Sidney and Piqua have identical 1-2 records, while Piqua is 1-0 in the MVL after last week’s 27-10 win over Stebbins.
Piqua is in the Miami Division, whose teams will play eight conference games; while Sidney is in the Valley Division, where teams are playing seven conference games.
Next year, all 10 teams will play nine conference games.
“Both teams are 1-2, but I think that is deceiving,” Piqua football coach Bill Nees said. “Neither team backs away from anybody, preseason or regular season. We have both scrimmaged and played some really good teams.”
Sidney features the leading rusher in the MVL in E.J, Davis (5-10, 185).
The sophomore has rushed for 477 yards and three touchdowns on 48 carries.
Sophomore Quamir Brown (5-9, 150) is a threat as well, with 66 yards on carries. He also leads the receivers with six catches for 112 yards.
Senior Ryan Dunham (5-11, 179) has completed 20 of 43 passes for 300 yards and four touchdowns.
“They have the leading rusher in the Miami Valley League, with almost 500 yards rushing,” Piqua football coach Bill Nees said about Davis. “ They operate out of the pistol formation. They have a guy (Quamir Brown) averaging seven or eight yards on Jet sweeps and a quarterback (Ryan Dunham) who has completed 50 percent of his passes — and the big key is no interceptions.
They can run with the pulling guard and they also can line up three guys wide. They can run outs and stops, but they also will run a smash route. We have to make sure in the back end, we don’t bite on that.”
The defense is led by senior linebacker Ryan Cagle (5-11, 190), who has 46 tackles.
“They mix stack and odd looks on defense,” Nees said. “They are multiple at the linebacker position and create a lot of confusion and pressure.”
Brown also has a 98-yard kickoff return for a touchdown and averages 42.8 yards on six returns.
“Special teams, they are averaging 38 yards on kickoff returns,” Nees said. “They have one for a touchdown and another for more than 40 yards. “
Piqua’s offense seemed to find itself in Thursday’s win over Stebbins.
Junior Ca’ron Coleman (5-9, 181) leads a balanced rushing attack with 192 yards on 29 carries.
Sophomore Tanner Kemp (6-0, 171) has been a touchdown maker.
He has 131 yards and four touchdowns on just 18 carries.
Junior Blane Ouhl (6-3, 187) has completed 14 of 31 passes for 184 yards with one touchdown and one interception.
Junior Garrett Schrubb (6-3, 180) has two catches for 68 yards, while sophomore Cory Miller (5-11, 160) has six catches for 46 yards.
“I think our offensive line has come along way the last couple weeks,” Nees said. “The key is having the right people in the game in the right situation. We had a 200-yard rushing game which was good to see.”
After giving up 10 points early against Stebbins, Piqua blanked them the rest of the way.
Sophomore defensive end Jerell Lewis (6-2, 252) had four sacks in that game, including recovering a fumble on another sack at the Stebbins one-yard line to turn the game around.
He leads the defense with 22 tackles.
Coleman has 19 tackles and fellow linebacker senior Makeegen Kuhn (6-2, 214) and Kemp both have 16.
Senior defensive lineman Hudson Hall (5-11, 197) and sophomore defensive backs Maxwell King (6-0, 170) and Aidan Meyer (5-7, 156) all have interception. Junior defensive lineman Lance Reaves-Hicks (6-1, 286) spent a lot of time in Stebbins backfield with Lewis and can stuff the run inside.
“Those two guys (Lewis, Reaves-Hick) had their best games,” Nees said. “I think our defense played pretty well. One of the big keys with our pass defense was the pass rush and the other was YAC (Yards After Catch). After one play early, Stebbins had 0 YAC the rest of the game.”
Nees expects another great game in the rivalry.
“It is always a big game (with the Battered Helmet) on the line,” Nees said. “We are used to playing them when the weather is a little cooler, but we have had some things flipped around (with the new conference). Everybody is out there grinding every week, just trying to get it done.”
All former football players and coaches who played in the Miami Valley League are invited to join the celebration of Piqua’s first home MVL game in 45 years.
They should arrive between 5:30-6:15 p.m. at the tailgate tent in front of the home entrance gate.
They will receive two complimentary tickets and have reserve seats, as well as being honored between the first and second quarters.
For more information on that, call Chip Hare at (937) 773-9577 or (937) 238-2939.
And hopefully, they will see Piqua grind out another win and keep the “Battered Helmet” at home.