SIDNEY — When asked if, before the season began, he thought his Indians could go undefeated, Piqua coach Bill Nees hinted that, yes, he had an inkling.
“We knew we had some good players coming up,” Nees said. “And last year, we lost two games by (less than a touchdown) each, so we knew were close.”
And in going 6-0 this season, many of the Indians’ opponents were nowhere close — and that was true again Friday night.
Sophomore quarterback Brady Ouhl threw three touchdown passes, three different Indian running backs found the end zone and the Indians turned three early defensive takeaways into points as Piqua rolled past Sidney, putting up 38 first-half points and putting away a 44-0 victory Friday on the road.
The shutout was Piqua’s third in its last four games. In fact, Indian defense has only given up 31 points all season long, with Piqua outscoring its opponents by an average of 36.2-5.2, with Week 1’s 26-10 victory over rival Troy being the closest game the Indians played in the regular season.
It was also the third straight victory over the Yellow Jackets (3-3) for Piqua, which will keep the Battered Helmet for another year.
All of Sidney’s three turnovers came in the first quarter in addition to one botched punt, and Piqua scored on every resulting possession to take a 24-0 lead.
“It was major,” Nees said. “They’re a great football team, and for us to be able to come down here on their field and get a couple turnovers and jump in the lead really helped us out.”
The Yellow Jackets fumbled at midfield on the first possession of the game. Ca’ron Coleman ran about 50 yards on the next play and then followed with a 1-yard touchdown run to give the Indians a 7-0 lead with 7:41 left.
Tanner Kemp intercepted a pass and returned it to Sidney’s 23-yard line shortly after. After a holding penalty moved Piqua back, Dre’Sean Roberts caught a 34-yard touchdown pass from Brady Ouhl to boost the lead to 14 points with 6:34 left.
Sidney went three-and-out and tried to punt, but the snap was bobbled, and Piqua tackled Sidney punter Wes Davidson at the 15-yard line. After an incomplete pass, Kemp ran it in with 3:30 left to increase the lead to 21-0.
The Yellow Jackets fumbled the ensuing kickoff return, and the Indians recovered at Sidney’s 15. Jackson Trombley made a 27-yard field goal with 1:17 left to cap off another scoring drive.
“We’ve got some really good speed on defense, and they had some unfortunate things that happened to them right away,” Nees said. “It kind of puts you in a hole. We’ve been in situations like that before where you just try to fight your way out of it the whole time. Fortunate for us and unfortunate for them how it turned out.”
Piqua blocked a punt attempt in the second quarter and also recovered another botched punt attempt deep in Sidney territory in the second half, which was played with a running clock.
Bryson Roberts scored on a 13-yard run with 5:14 left in the second quarter to boost the lead 31-0, and Ouhl threw a 25-yard TD pass to Garrett Schrubb with 42 seconds left to finish the scoring in the first half.
Ouhl threw a 5-yard TD pass to older brother Blane Ouhl late in the third quarter to finish the game’s scoring. Trombley missed the extra-point attempt, which was his only miss on six tries in the contest.
The Indians finished with 268 yards of offense while Sidney managed 110.
Ouhl completed 9-of-14 passes for 122 yards, while Coleman led the Indians with 66 rushing yards on seven carries and Kemp amassed 51 rushing yards on 10 carries.
Cedric Johnson completed 11-of-21 passes for 61 yards while E.J. Davis ran for 49 yards on 10 carries.
All of that leaves Piqua in the odd position of having a bye week to open the postseason in Week 7. The Indians earned the No. 3 seed in Division II, Region 8, and will wait until the second round to face the winner of next week’s game between No. 14 Harrison and No. 19 Lima Senior.
“It’ll probably be a little awkward, us just walking around looking at each other in the office,” Nees said with a chuckle when asked about the bye week. “But we’ll try to figure something out. I’m sure there’s enough film between both of those schools that we can get a little bit of an idea what’s happening.”