By Rob Kiser
Piqua Daily Call
PIQUA — The Piqua football team had Vandalia-Butler right where they wanted them Friday night with the game on the line — with the Indians defense on the field.
Piqua was holding a 14-7 lead in Miami Valley League action when a 50-yard punt by Austin Burns backed Butler up to its own 14 with 6:40 remaining.
And Butler faced a Piqua defense that has allowed just three touchdowns since the opening game of the season.
“It is a little nerve-wracking,” Piqua defensive end Jerell Lewis said. “But, we have been there a 100 times. And the sophomores, they are out there playing like seniors.”
Butler quarterback Luke Mitchell was able to convert two first downs.
He drew Piqua offsides on one and threw 25 yards to the MVL’s leading receiver Ryan Wilson for another.
But, with first down on the Piqua 38-yard line, the Indians defense took over.
Jerell Lewis and Caleb Lyons sacked Mitchell on consecutive plays, with Lyons dropping him for a 10-yard loss back at the Butler 44 to set up third-and-28.
“That felt great,” Lyons said. “To put them in a third-and-long situation like that. That was big.”
Mitchell found Gavin Casella for six yards, but Piqua linebacker Makeegen Kuhn wrapped him up right there to set up and fourth-and 22 at midfield.
His throw was high and Aidan Meyer intercepted the ball at the Piqua 20-yard line. Piqua picked up one first down and ran out the clock after picking up one first down.
“Everybody said why didn’t you bat it down,” Meyer said about giving Piqua the ball at midfield. “I really didn’t think about it. All I was thinking was get the offense back out on the field.”
Piqua is now 3-2 overall and 3-0 in the MVL, while Butler drops to 2-3 overall and 1-2 in the MVL.
“It is a big win,” Piqua coach Bill Nees said. “Butler has a great pass offense, but we have a great defensive line. It was just a couple big plays by both teams.”
Butler drove right down the field on its opening possession, but fumbled out of the end zone for a touchback.
Early in the second quarter, Butler got the ball on its own 38 and struck quickly.
Mitchell found Colin Schindele for 61 yards to the Piqua 1-yard line.
Three plays later, on third-and-goal from the six, Mitchell found Wilson in the right corner of the end zone for the score. Jenson Brown’s PAT kick made it 7-0.
Before Butler could kick off, there was a lightning delay, which seemed to help Piqua settle down.
“I think it probably did help us,” Nees said. “We just needed to find something that would work (on offense).”
Piqua found that late in the first half.
Having just two first downs up to that point, Piqua faced a second-and-seven from its 31.
Ca’ron Coleman busted up the middle and took it all the way for a 69-yard touchdown run.
“The safety bit and it was wide open,” Coleman said. “I was (worried they might catch me). I looked over my shoulder at the end.”
Jackson Trombley’s PAT kick tied it 7-7 with 4:15 to go in the half and it stayed that way until the third quarter.
Piqua took the second half kickoff and went 70 yards in seven plays.
Again it was Coleman, going 35 yards for a touchdown. Trombley’s PAT kick made it 14-7 with 8:10 to go in the third quarter.
“I got one block and I was gone,” Coleman said.
Piqua controlled the second half, as Butler had just one first down before the final drive that ended with Meyer’s interception.
“I know we didn’t score a lot of points,” Nees said. “But, I thought we moved the ball pretty well in the second half.”
Coleman finished with 157 yards on 15 carries to lead the Indians.
Tanner Kemp added 41 yards on eight carries.
Mitchell was 18-for-25 passing for 202 yards for Butler, while Schindele had two catches for 64 yards and Wilson had six for 58 yards.
The Piqua defense limited Butler to 32 yards rushing on 22 attempts.
“We have to be the top defense in the MVL,” Lewis said.
And the Indians will look to continue that play next Friday, when Piqua travels to West Carrollton.
Contact Piqua Daily Call Sports Editor Rob Kiser at email@example.com.
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