by Rick Ford
The night was perfect. Clear skies, a sparkling stadium and a fever pitch among what would turn out to be a standing room only crowd of 9,257 on hand to watch the Great American Rivalry Series match up presented by the Marines at the annual “Battle on the Miami” at Purk Field in Piqua, Ohio. And while the setting was perfection and enthusiasm was off the charts, the Piqua Indians would provide the Troy Trojans several generous opportunities to take home a victory as a result of four turnovers.
Following the first Troy drive of the game, which ended in a 29-yard field goal by Great American Rivalry Series Scholar Athlete award winner, Ashlin Stoltz, Piqua quarterback Taylor Wellbaum would offer up his first of three pass interceptions on the night. Taking advantage of good field position, Troy marched the ball down to the 17 yard line. On 4th and 13, the Trojans made a gutsy call to go for the touchdown, and Cody May responded with strike over the middle to a wide-open Ian Dunaway late in the first quarter. The first half would end at 10-0 when the best Piqua drive of the first half stalled at the Troy 17.
After the halftime break, the Trojans would immediately pick up where they left off. Troy’s Brad Armstrong would make the second Trojan interception of the game on the first play of the second half and return it 47 yards for a touchdown to bring the score to 17-0 before many people had returned from the concession stands for the half time break.
On the following kickoff, Piqua would show there was still a lot of fight left in the Indian squad on what would be the wildest play of the night. Xavier Roberts took the ensuing kickoff and rambled to midfield where he would have the ball stripped away. An alert Piqua linebacker, Darrian Sanders, scooped up the loose ball and took it to the house, tightening the score to 17-7 and re invigorating the Piqua faithful.
Following a defensive stand that limited the Trojans to another Stolz field goal, Piqua would draw on that support. The Indians took over on downs after eventual Rivalry Series MVP Marcus Foster had broken free for the Trojans and raced to Piqua 12 yard line. The Indians would stop the Trojans on their own five yard line and mount their best drive of the night, marching 90 yards to the Troy five yard line. Down just 20-7, a score at this point changes the game. Instead, another Indian turnover stalls the drive.
The Piqua defense would respond once again, holding Troy to a three and out series. Piqua’s Wellbaum would respond to this late opportunity with a 35 yard pass to Indian receiver and Piqua Scholar Athlete Trenton Hemm for the touchdown and a 20-14 score with 2:54 remaining in the game.
Following the anticipated on side kick, Troy would retrieve the ball with a short field in front of them and drive to their final score, setting the game ending margin at 27-14. Troy improved its record to 6-1 while Piqua slipped to 3-4 after two tough losses in two weeks.
The challenges ahead are can Piqua solve its turnover issue in time for playoffs and can Troy keep its momentum going? The answers will be found on the football field when the Friday Night Lights once again shine on high school football next week.
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- Troy vs. Piqua – 2010