Prep football: Piqua pulls away from Stebbins to move to 4-0

Piqua quarterback Brady Ouhl fires a pass past Stebbins' Dalton King during Piqua's 27-0 victory over Stebbins on Friday, Sept. 18, 2020. Jeff Gilbert/CONTRIBTED

Momentum was at a standstill Friday night as Piqua and Stebbins traded turnovers and punts for almost three quarters. Piqua scored an early touchdown, but neither team claimed control.

Then Piqua running back Jasiah Medley got the ball for a play he called truck left. H-back Jerell Lewis blocked a linebacker as Medley turned the corner and, well, you could drive a truck through the hole that Lewis and the line made.

Medley accelerated and raced untouched to a 75-yard touchdown, sparking unbeaten Piqua to a 27-7 Miami Valley League victory over previously unbeaten Stebbins.

ExploreWEEK 4 SCOREBOARD

“It sparked everything,” Medley said. “We had a rough first half, and we just needed that touchdown. After that, we were moving.”

A minute later Ca’Ron Coleman recovered a Stebbins fumble, its fifth turnover, and Coleman scored soon afterward on a 5-yard run late in the third quarter. Early in the fourth quarter Tanner Kemp ran 61 yards for the final touchdown.

“It was a big momentum push,” said Piqua coach Bill Nees of Medley’s touchdown. “High school football is all about momentum and big plays. That’s what drives these guys.”

Piqua (4-0) is off to its best start since being 5-1 in 2008. Next week’s league foe is unbeaten Tippecanoe, a 30-26 winner Friday over Troy. Nees reminds his team each week not to think about their record and to treat every opponent as if it is unbeaten.

“It’s amazing, but we’re on to Tipp City already,” Medley said. “We practice hard every day, we come in knowing we’re 0-0 and we go from there.”

Piqua has been spreading the ball around and Friday was no different. Medley had 88 yards on eight carries, Coleman had 67 on 14 carries, Kemp had 59 on three carries and quarterback Brady Ouhl had 21 on eight carries. Ouhl threw for 108 yards, including a 35-yard touchdown to Lewis on Piqua’s opening drive.

“We were a little disappointed with a couple of our turnovers, but once we got going with our offense and we got a couple big plays going and we got a lead we forced them to do some different stuff on offense,” Nees said.

Stebbins runs most of its offense through junior quarterback Nate Keller. He came in leading the team in rushing attempts with 56 and yards with 217. He carried the ball 18 times against Piqua for 66 yards and passed for 74 yards. He had his team just outside the red zone twice in the first half, but a fumble and interception in the end zone stopped both drives.

Stebbins quarterback Nate Keller fights for yardage against Piqua on Friday, Sept. 18, 2020. Jeff Gilbert/CONTRIBUTED

Stebbins (3-1) is still off to its best start since being 5-0 in 2015. In Greg Bonifay’s first three seasons, Stebbins started 0-3, 0-3 and 1-2. He was disappointed with the loss and his team’s five turnovers, but he is happy with how the program has grown. And he credits the senior class with leading the way.

“The kids practiced probably the hardest they practiced all year,” he said. “We just came out and things didn’t go our way tonight. We’ve got to protect the football, and we’ve got to make tackles when we’re there to tackle, but my kids have played hard all year and I’ve got nothing but respect for our team.”

This is the second year Piqua has played Stebbins since the formation of the MVL. Even though Piqua outgained Stebbins 345-200 and was plus-three in turnovers, Nees was impressed.

“What coach has done over there and his staff is amazing,” Nees said. “They’ve got really top-notch players, and their scheme on both sides of the ball is sound. Everybody in the league is respecting the heck out of them.”

In Other News