By Rob Kiser
Call Sports Editor
Piqua offensive coordinator Troy Ouhl proved to be a prophet.
The Indians football team made a big statement – starting with a bang and never letting up in a 48-0 romp over Xenia – to improve to 2-1 heading into a big game at Lebanon Friday.
And it didn’t take long for Piqua to put last week’s loss behind them.
After the defense forced a three-and-out and a 15-yard punt gave Piqua the ball on the 40, the Indians went the distance on their first play just as Ouhl had predicted.
Quarterback Taylor Wellbaum found tight end Jordan Feeser wide open in the flat and Feeser took it to the “house”, with Evan Grissom’s kick giving Piqua a 7-0 lead less than two minutes into the game.
“We had been running that play in practice all week – and last week,” Feeser said. “When we ran it Thursday, coach (Troy) Ouhl told us it was going to go for a touchdown Saturday.”
As the play developed, Feeser knew Ouhl was going to be right.
“There was no one out there,” he said. “I thought I was going to score. I thought that was huge (after last week’s loss).”
Wellbaum admitted he was a little surprised.
“We had talked about how we were going to run that play,” Wellbaum said. “I was surprised (when he saw how open Feeser was). Sometimes those are the hardest passes to throw.”
Piqua football coach Bill Nees also felt it was huge for the Indians confidence.
“We needed a play like that,” he said. “We didn’t score in the second half last week.”
And while Piqua’s defense continued to dominate, the offense missed a few opportunities before putting the game away late in the first half with a 21-point explosion.
Piqua turned the ball over on downs on its next three possessions, despite a 21-yard run on a fake punt by Travis Nees to keep one drive going.
“We just got into a funk,” Bill Nees said. “We had a few things happen.”
But, on a second and ten play in the second quarter, Wellbaum did what he does best – making something out of nothing on a 59-yard TD run and suddenly it was 14-0 after the second of six PATs by Grissom.
“There was nothing there, so I reversed it the other way and it was wide open,” Wellbaum said. “Sometimes, you just get lucky.”
After another three-and-out from the Piqua defense, Kindrick Link retreated to the Piqua 10 to pick up the punt and appeared to go 90 yards for a TD.
While, there was an illegal block late on the return – Piqua still started on the Xenia 24. After a 17-yard pass from Justice Young to Wellbaum, Jon Dembski pounded the ball into the end zone from four yards out to make it 21-0.
“It still had the same affect,” Nees said about the punt return. “It was a big play and Xenia was tired from chasing on the punt. We were able to put it in the end zone.”
On Piqua’s next possession, the Indians started at their own 49.
Following an 11-yard pass from Young to Wellbaum, Wellbaum moved back to quarterback on a fourth-and-five from the Xenia 35.
He found Travis Nees along the right sideline and Nees made a couple nice moves in the open field to take it to the end zone. A two-point pass failed, making it 27-0 with 2:44 remaining in the half and that is the way it stayed until the second half.
“I really wasn’t open,” Travis Nees said. “Taylor (Wellbaum) bought some time scrambling and Trae Honeycutt made a great block in front of me. We just took it to another level (in the second quarter).”
In the second-half, it was ground “Dembski”.
The Piqua fullback had 12 carries for 88 yards in the Indians two third-quarter drives.
He finished off an 11-play, 66-yard drive with an 18-yard TD run and following another three-and-out by the Piqua defense, the Indians went 68-yards on 13 carries.
Wellbaum completed the drive with a nine-yard TD pass to Ryan Hughes on fourth-and five.
“To be able to come out and eat up the clock like we did, that was great to see,” Nees said.
And there is nothing subtle about Dembski’s running style, which resulted in 122 yards on 17 carries. He simply ran over the Xenia defenders, consistently carrying several would-be tacklers with him.
“Just throw in a straight arm,” Nees said. “He (Jon Dembski) is about as old school as it gets.”
Justice Young added a TD run for the final of 48-0.
Wellbaum added 81 yards on 10 carries to the rushing attack as Piqua amassed 316 yards rushing to Xenia’s 61.
Solomon Carnes forced a fumble in the first half that linebacker Brandon Pummill recovered. Pummill forced a fumble that led to a TD in Piqua’s opening game and come up with turnovers in the last two games.
“It felt great for the defense to get a shutout,” Feeser, who also plays on the defensive line, said. “This gives us a lot of confidence.”
Heading into a big game on the road with Lebanon, with both teams taking a 2-1 mark into the game.
“We knew what we could do,” Travis Nees said about erasing the Fairfield loss. “We just need to stay humble and stay focused.”
And the rest will take care of itself.