Troy versus Piqua, Piqua versus Troy — it is older than our grandparents … and for some of you, perhaps, great-grandparents. Of course, the community rivalry goes back almost to the beginning of both cities, but I am writing about their competitiveness on the gridiron. No two teams in Ohio have played each other more times than Troy and Piqua, and yet the rivalry record is a virtual tie.
By the time you read this column, the latest edition of the Troy-Piqua football contest will have been played out at Piqua’s Alexander Stadium. Hopefully, it will have been a great game that adds another interesting chapter to the storied series.
In recent years, as in the past, the game itself is always intense, and this year shouldn’t be any difference with a GWOC-North shared or outright championship on the line. So, by the time the special haircuts are in place, the blood drive is completed, and pep rallies are held in the respective schools and communities, almost everyone is hyped up for a great game. Someone would have to really be “out of it” not to be ready for the contest.
Now not too long ago, the both communities agreed to officially ‘buried the hatchet,’ as far as hating each other and the cut throat competition, etc., so we shouldn’t expect rough or dangerous episodes now, but that was not always the case … and sometimes it was the fans that have taken an active part in the rivalry..
For example, back in 1941, the Trojans were fresh off their third straight losing season, including the most recent set with their new head coach Carlton Kazmaier. It was not that Troy was that bad, in fact they were 3-0-1 following the first four games. But something happened in the second half of the season and they lost five straight. Three of those games were against eventual Miami Valley League co-champions, and except for the blowout loss to Xenia, the Trojans lost four of the final games by an average of 6.5 points, including a 6 point loss to rival Piqua, who were co-champions, along with Xenia and Miamisburg. It set up the week to be one of frustration.
The Mayflower Sweet Shop, owned by the Gigicos family, was a favorite teen hangout in the Troy after school and on weekends. My mother used to tell me about their “to die for” baklava, one of her favorites among the many great treats in the little corner shop.
Following a very hard, yet frustrating loss to end the season, a number of Troy students were enjoying some of the confectionary delights at the sweet gathering place on the northeast corner of Main and Cherry when a scuffle broke out. Whether any Piqua teens were talking it up or not is unknown, but, apparently, the young Troy men did not like the presence of Piqua youth in “their place,” and proceeded to assist them out of the store. Following their “eviction,” the young people from Piqua decided they were not going to go easily and returned with a vengeance. A melee ensued, a Mayflower Sweet Shop glass showcase was broken and the police were called to the scene. Fortunately, no one was hurt, and things pretty returned to normal … at least, until the next year.
Another incident happened earlier in the history of the series. From 1904–1908, the varsity squads from Troy and Piqua did not play each other on the football field. Now, to be truthful, there was a game scheduled for 1905, but with numerous injuries and several deaths nationwide, and following a very ugly injury to a Troy player in the first game of the season, Troy cancelled the rest of their contests for that year. However, at some point in 1904-05, there were heated words between the communities and the ball teams and, perhaps, other shenanigans going on that caused the two schools to cut-off all athletic competition with one another. Harry Tamplin (THS grad 1909) stated that several fights broke out after games between the fans, and the police had a difficult time breaking the fracas up, and the fans were sober, but not in a good mood. The competition of the rivalry (on and off the field) had become so intense that for the benefit of both communities the series was suspended, indefinitely.
In late 1908, when it looked as if the athletic competition may be resumed, one editor pleaded that the past contests be forgotten. One educator stated he thought the “… resumption of the Troy-Piqua series will only result in trouble and partisan feelings between Troy and Piqua.” When it finally looked like the rivalry was going to resume on the gridiron, one editor had some sage advice. “Now, boys, be good.”
I trust you enjoyed the game, rival spirit, and fun, even if your team lost, but I also hope everyone was good.
Patrick D. Kennedy is archivist at the Troy-Miami County Public Library’s Local History Library, 100 W. Main St., Troy. He may be contacted by calling (937) 335-4082 or sending an email to email@example.com