High school football: Xenia overwhelms Piqua in Miami Valley League showdown

XENIA – Second year head coach Maurice Harden has big plans for the Xenia High School football program. Friday, the Buccaneers became masons.

“My mantra this year is ‘Brick by Brick,’” Harden said. “Right now were laying the foundation for a successful program.”

In a match-up of state-ranked teams, host Xenia overwhelmed Piqua at Doug Adams Stadium 28-0 in a meeting of Miami Valley League heavyweights. Xenia, ranked No. 10 in the first Associated Press Division II state poll, improves to 4-0 overall and 3-0 in the league while Piqua, ranked No. 6, drops to 3-1 (2-1).

The win snapped Piqua’s 19-game regular season win streak, dating back to Week 10 of the 2019 season, and was just the Indians’ third loss in their last 26 games.

The contest featured the league’s top offense – Xenia was averaging 519 yards and 45.7 points per game – and the top defense – Piqua was allowing 118 yards and had pitched three straight shutouts to begin the season.

The Bucs scored on their first three possessions to take a 21-0 halftime lead.

Physicality on both sides of the ball propelled Xenia, which outgained Piqua 362-112 in total yards.

“We define ourselves on being physical,” Harden said. “We want to be a physical football team. We pride ourselves on playing that style of football.”

“We played them last year and they were very physical,” Piqua head coach Bill Nees said. “The biggest difference was that they weren’t able to consistently run the ball last year and this year they were. And last year their defense didn’t really slow us down. This year their defensive front was a factor.”

Senior running back Trei’Shaun Sanders highlighted a potent ground game (241 yards) by rushing for 152 yards on 25 carries and three touchdowns. He scored on runs of 26, one and two yards. Xenia’s other score came via a 10-yard pass by Gavin McManus to Jackson Tate.

The defense was relentless. Xenia lineman Jamell Smith had 13 tackles (three TFL), while linebacker Jaxen Lewis had 12 tackles and a fumble recovery.

“The defense came and showed out tonight,” Smith said. “We did what we were supposed to do. They said they were going to run for almost 500 yards and we weren’t going to let that happen.”

“Our defense is spectacular,” Harden said. “They fly around and give people a lot of problems because of how physical they are and because they can bring pressure from so many different areas. By them being able to do that it puts opponents in some really bad binds.”

Piqua had 58 yards through three quarters. Colten Beougher tallied 16 tackles for Piqua.

“They have a great offense and they’re defense was just outstanding tonight,” Nees said. “They put pressure on us and we never got in a rhythm. It was rough.”

Since the MVL’s inaugural season in 2019, Piqua and Xenia have combined for all three overall league titles. The Indians have won the last two, while Xenia captured the initial championship.

“This puts us where we want, but we’re not done,” Smith said. “We’re not done one bit. This is just another step towards the legacy that this team is leaving.”

“We were highly motivated,” Harden said. “We wanted to put on a great showing for our community, execute and show we’re a good football team.”

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