|By Rob Kiser, Piqua Daily Call
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The Piqua football team finished the first half on a roll.
And the Indians hope that momentum will carry over to this morning.
With Piqua leading 16-7 at halftime, Mother Nature intervened.
After trying to wait out the lightning delay for more than 90 minutes, the decision was made to return to Alexander Stadium/Purk Field at noon and play the second half. The JV game has been cancelled and the freshman will play at 5 p.m. Monday at Piqua.
It was a contrast of St. Marys ball-control offense in the Wing-T and Piqua’s explosiveness.
And both had an impact in the opening half.
After a 16-yard pass from Justin Hemm to David Rolf and a 28-yard run by Hemm on Piqua’s opening drive, Wes Reed matched his uniform number with a 33-yard field goal.
St. Marys, led by the running of Koby Frye, would run 31 plays to Piqua’s 12 at one point. A 10-yard run by Dyan Dietz on fourth-and-two and Kenneth Bruce’s kick put St. Marys up 7-3 with 11:18 remaining in the first half.
That’s when big plays changed the momentum to Piqua’s side.
The first of two Frye fumbles was scooped up Piqua linebacker Willie Monbeck and he raced 48 yards for the score, running through an attempted tackle by Roughriders quarterback Derek Dunlap.
That put Piqua up 9-7 with 6:14 remaining in the half.
On St. Marys next possession, Ty Knox recovered a Frye fumble at the Piqua 35 after a 22-yard run.
After a 22-yard run by Kendall Taylor, Justin Hemm escaped a rush on third-and-10, faked several defenders out of their shoes, picked up several blocks downfield and finished in the end zone on a 43-yard run.
Reed’s kick made it 16-7 with 3:10 remaining in the first half.
Piqua got the ball back with less than two minutes remaining and nearly turned it into more points.
Starting at its own 34, Hemm had 25-yard run on a third-and-19 and a 26-yard pass to Ryan Musselman on a third-and-10. A long field goal attempt missed just before half.
Hemm had 96 yards on seven carries for the Indians, while Frye had 107 yards on 18 carries for the Roughriders.
Day 2 of Piqua-St. Marys was a continuation of Day 1.
The Indians and Roughriders football teams returned to Alexander Stadium/Purk Field for a noon start Saturday.
And the results were pretty much the same as Piqua extended a 16-7 halftime lead (when lightning stopped the game Friday) to a 37-20 victory over an impressive St. Marys team.
“That (St. Marys) is a very good football team,” Piqua coach Bill Nees said. “They are going to do some damage in the Division III playoffs.”
And while the Indians may have been disappointed not to continue on Friday night aftr a strong finish tothe first half, they didn’t show it.
“You can’t do anything about that,” Nees said. “We got thrown some adversity and you have to overcome that. We had every advantage. We could get a good night’s sleep and we were playing on our field. There was some adversity an we handled it well.”
On Saturday, there was some more spectacular JHemm (Justin Hemm) runs, several firsts and an Indians team not about to be denied an opening victory making its presence felt.
It started immediately when Ryan Musselman returned the second-half kickoff to the St. Marys 35.
“We want the kickoff returns to be just like last year,” Musselman said. “We have worked hard. We wanted to come out and score right away.”
Seven plays later, Hemm scored from one-yard out and Wes Reed’s kick made it 23-7 with 8:41 remaining in the third quarter.
“We were getting the football first,” Nees said. “We felt like it was real important to come out and score on that first drive.”
Particularly against a ball-control offense that likes to put long drives together that eat up clock.
“Especially, with an offense like St. Marys has,” Hemm said. “We knew if we scored, that was going to make things tough for them.”
After St. Marys got within 23-14 on Derek Dunlap’s touchdown pass to Tyler Norton, Piqua put together a 74-yard drive.
Kendall Taylor had a 23-yard run on the drive and Cortland Martin added a 35-yard jaunt. On third-and-eight from the Roughrider 12, Hemm found an open Logan Rasor, Rasor’s first high school touchdown.
“I was wide open,” Rasor said. “That wouldn’t have been too good if I hadn’t caught that one. I was so open, it seemed like it took forever for the ball to get there.”
The final touchdown put a capper on a spectacular performance Hemm seems to make look routine. On third and 16 from the Piqua 30, Hemm found a seam, cut back several times and turned it into a 70-yard touchdown run.
“I just like to get outside,” Hemm said.
He had a 43-yard run to paydirt in the first half Friday and finished with 202 yards on 20 carries, including a 16-yard loss on a scramble.
“He (Justin Hemm) is incredible,” Nees said. “Hopefully, I will be saying those things about him for a long time (this season).”
That TD had been set up by Musselman’s first high school interception.
“It was my first,” Musselman said. “I was pretty excited about that.”
The game had swung Friday night with St. Marys leading 7-3 when Willie Monbeck had taken a fumble back 48 yards for the score and fumble recovery by Ty Knox led to a touchdown run by Hemm on Piqua’s next possession.
“The play by Willie Monbeck Friday was huge,” Hemm said. “That was a play that swung the momentum.”
Monbeck recalled the play Saturday.
“I think it was Shea Selsor hit the guy and I was able to punch the ball out,” Monbeck, who ran through an attempted takle by Dunlap on the return, said. “I saw the ball on the ground and was able to scoop it up. I knew there was one guy there and just tried to break the tackle.”
While St. Marys finished with 252 yards rushing, only 83 came in the second half.
“We did a better job today against the run,” Monbeck said. “After Friday night, we knew what they were going to do and what to expect.”
The Roughriders did use an unusual spread formation with some success and passed for 123 yards, including 118 in the second half.
“They hurt us with some spread formations,” Nees said. “That is something that will get taken care of this week. It was good to be tested with that.”
Koby Frye finished with 160 yards on 28 carries, including 53 in the second half.
Now the Indians prepare for another big test, traveling to Pickerington Central Friday. The Tigers lost to Piqua in the state championship game last year.
But, the Indians passed their first test with flying colors.
“St. Marys is a great team,” Hemm said. “They have some good backs. They have size and speed. This was a good win for us.”
One in which Saturday’second half bore a strong resemblance to Friday’s opening half.
Piqua Team Totals
First Downs - 14
Rushing Yards - 287
Passing Yards - 79
Comp.-Att.-Int. - 6-14-0
Fumbles-Lost - 2-0
Penalties - 3-35
Punts-Avg. - 2-34.0
St. Marys Team Totals
First Downs - 18
Rushing Yards - 252
Passing Yards - 123
Comp.-Att.-Int. - 10-18-1
Fumbles-Lost - 4-2
Penalties - 5-40
Punts-Avg. - 2-38.0
Score By Quarters
St. Marys .....0....7....7....6 20
Piqua ......3....13....7....14 37
1.Piqua Wes Reed, 33-yard field goal.
2. St. Marys Dylan Dietz, 10-yard run (Kenneth Bruce kick).
3.Piqua Willie Monbeck, 48-yard fumble return (kick failed).
4.Piqua Justin Hemm, 43-yard run (Wes Reed kick).
5.Piqua Justin Hemm, 1-yard run (Wes Reed kick).
6.St. Marys Tyler Norton, 9-yard pass from Derek Dunlap (Kenneth Bruce kick).
7.Piqua Logan Rasor, 12-yard pass from Justin Hemm (Wes Reed kick).
8.Piqua Justin Hemm, 70-yard run (Wes Reed kick).
9.St. Marys Kenneth Bruce, 42-yard pass from Derek Dunlap (Kenneth Bruce kick).
Rushing Piqua: Justin Hemm 21-202, Kendall Taylor 5-44, Cortland Martin 3-3-7, Willie Monbeck 3-4. St. Marys: Koby Frye 28-160, Dylan Dietz 11-47, Kenneth Bruce 4-23, Samuel Rammel 3-11, Derek Dunlap 4-11.
Passing Piqua: Justin Hemm 6-14-0, 79. St. Marys: Derek Dunlap 8-14-1, 102. Koby Frye 2-4-0, 21.
Receiving Piqua: Logan Rasor 3-25, Ryan Musselman 1-26, David Rolf 1-16, Cole Selsor 1-12. St. Marys: Kenneth Bruce 1-42, Koby Frye 3-19, Joel Knous 1-19, Samuel Rammel 1-13, Garrett Barhorst 2-13, Tyler Norton 1-9, Derek Dunlap 1-8.