By David Fong
TROY — Kameron Block had spent much of his young life dreaming of the day he would get to play in the Troy vs. Piqua football game.
Last year, that dream finally came true for Block, then a junior offensive lineman for the Trojans.
For exactly one play.
“I got hurt on the first play,” Block said. “It was super annoying.”
On the first play from scrimmage in the Trojans’ eventual 37-14 victory over their bitter rivals, Block suffered a severe knee injury that would bring an end to his season. He was on crutches watching from the sidelines as his teammates beat Piqua for the first time in five tries, clinched a conference title for the first time in 17 years and wrapped up a playoff berth.
That’s why Block isn’t taking anything for granted tonight when Troy (7-2, 4-0 in the Greater Western Ohio Conference American North Division) plays Piqua (6-3, 3-1) at 7 p.m. at Troy Memorial Stadium. It will be the 133rd meeting between the historic rivals, who have played more times than any two high school football teams in the state. The all-time series between the two schools is deadlocked, 63-63-6.
“I was still excited and I was happy for everyone, but I was upset I didn’t get to contribute,” Block said. “It was rough. It was way rough. I’m very much looking forward to this year’s game, since I didn’t get to play last year. I’ve got a lot of pent up emotions.”
That pretty accurately sums up the feelings of Block’s 14 senior teammates — even the ones who did get to play in last year’s game — as they prepare for one final showdown with Piqua.
“This is the game you look forward to the whole year — and it’s finally here,” said senior defensive tackle Joah Schricker. “There’s a lot of pressure, but it’s also fun. We definitely don’t want to go out losing to Piqua our senior year.”
Since none of Troy’s seniors played varsity as freshmen, this game will serve as a tiebreaker of sorts — not just in the all-time series between the two schools, but personally. This group of seniors lost to the Indians 26-7 as sophomores, then won last year’s game. They have a chance to leave Troy with a 2-1 record against their rivals.
“This means everything to us,” senior cornerback Derek McDonagh said. “Our whole season has been leading up to this game. We like the attention. We want everyone to come out and watch this game.”
Senior linebacker Johnny Wehrkamp said he could scarcely contain his excitement for tonight’s contest.
“This means so much to us,” he said. “I’m so exited. We just want to go out there and play.”
Tonight, they’ll get their chance … one final time.
Contact David Fong at firstname.lastname@example.org; follow him Twitter @thefong