Piqua’s quarterback was so good he took the drama out of the Indians’ playoff opening win over Little Miami. But could his, and their best be yet to come?
Piqua, OH – If anyone out there had a better opening night in the 2021 OHSAA football playoffs, or know of anyone that had a better night than Piqua’s Brady Ouhl…raise your hand.
The Indians’ junior quarterback personally accounted for 491 of his team’s 535 total yards, while the defense gave up just 220 yards, in a 49-7 romp over #16 seed Little Miami. Ouhl had 123 yards rushing on just three carries, and a touchdown…and another 268 yards (18 of 20) and four touchdowns passing.
Not that so many people were there to see it in a cold, steady rain, which won’t thrill the OHSAA. Nor will it do much to justify the expansion to 16 teams in each respective region this year. By actual count Little Miami brought less than 75 people. Nonetheless, Ouhl probably didn’t care, and afterwards downplayed his accomplishment by saying, “Our coaches had us well prepared.”
But such as it was, can anyone name another ‘team’ more impressive on Friday night than the Piqua Indians, now 10-0 on the season, the #1 seed in Region 8, Division II? And even against a #16 seed they left nothing to question as to their worthiness while some say that this team is more talented, and more athletic, than Bill Nees’ 2006 Division II state champions with Brandon Saine.
Tone it down a bit?
Sure, but the numbers don’t lie. Piqua made a football game look like a track meet Friday night with one big play after another. And more impressively, they spread it around.
Ouhl had his big night, highlighted by a 63 yard touchdown run before halftime…and those four touchdown passes.
Featured running back Jasiah Medley added 101 yards rushing, highlighted by a 53 yard bolt for the end zone on the first play from scrimmage in the second half.
Receiver Elijah Frazier had two catches for two touchdowns, his longest a 60-yarder in the first quarter.
Receiver Corey Miller had five catches and a touchdown.
Ky Warner, Dre’Sean Roberts, Ryan Brown, Colton Beougher, Giovanni Baron…the list goes on and on.
And what made it all relevant was…Little Miami wasn’t a bad football team, more talented than a lot of #16 seeds playing this weekend, and a team that had played conference foes like Kings, Turpin, and Anderson tough during the regular season.
“They were a good football team,” said Jasiah Medley, afterwards. “They hung with Anderson and took that game to overtime.”
Piqua came out hot, scoring at 7:24 of the first quarter on a 4-yard run by Medley after a ten-play, 62 yard drive.
The defense kept the Panthers penned down, but Piqua’s offense had its issues after that opening drive, the Panthers keeping them out of the end zone on three ensuing possessions. But you could feel the time bomb ticking, and finally, with :28 seconds left in the first quarter Ouhl found Elijah Frazier streaking down the sideline and hit him perfectly in stride for a 60 yard touchdown that put the Indians up 14-0 as the clock ran out.
Little Miami still couldn’t move the ball, and at 7:28 of the second Colton Beougher scored on a 17-yard strike from Ouhl to make the score 21-0, as the circumstances began to smell like a rout…21-0. But as the rain increased over Alexander Stadium the Panthers drove the ball to the 35 yard line of Piqua and scored their only touchdown of the game on a halfback option pass to Brayden Bischoff to make it 21-7…and remind the Indians that Little Miami was, in fact, capable.
But no sweat. Comfort, actually, as the Indians and Ouhl immediately answered with a run around right end for 63 yards and a 28-7 halftime lead.
Comfortable pretty much described the Indians’ effort for the night, and as they came out for the third quarter Nees exhorted them to get back to business. It took Jasiah Medley just one play, as he broke a tackle at the line of scrimmage and bolted 53 yards through the heart of the defense for a touchdown and a 35-7 margin.
At 4:16 Corey Miller hauled in a 20-yard pass from Ouhl and scored to make it 42-7…and a running clock.
Moments later, with :51 second left in the third quarter, Elijah Frazier scored his second touchdown of the game to make it 49-7 and cap the scoring for the night.
Indeed, they made it look comfortable – veteran – like a team seasoned by last year’s disappointing end at the hands of the Anderson Redskins in the last 30 seconds.
“We knew they were better than a #16 seed because they play in a good conference,” added Brady Ouhl. “We were focused all week and I think our coaches are the best-prepared coaches you’ll find, and they had us prepared for anything they might throw at us.
“It helps when we have a lot of juniors and seniors who experienced it last year. We lost to Anderson and we prepared all winter for this, and we thought we could be back right where we are right now. Tonight was good because I hadn’t had a game this year that I thought was up to my standards, so it felt good to finally break out.”
Senior Jasiah Medley is the leading rusher in the Miami Valley League with over 1,600 yards, and Friday he gave plenty of evidence that what you haven’t heard about him, publicity-wise, can hurt you. Playing behind Ca’Ron Coleman last year, he’s a slasher, and made Little Miami respect the entire width of the field Friday for his ability to run with power and speed, inside and out. He credits his big year, and the Indians’ success…to hard work, and anticipation.
“We work hard every day, Monday through Thursday,” he smiled, post-game. “And we’re only missing a couple of people who graduated from last year. We were a young team last year, and now we’re more experienced. We worked hard all winter and spring and had that Anderson game on our mind all the time. We’re hoping to play them again – to have a rematch. Tonight was a big game for us because they hung with Anderson, 43-42 in overtime. They were tough, but I just think we’re ready for whatever.”
Of course Bill Nees’ opinion matters most of all, and 49 points against a team capable of pushing back against the best in their league – all Region 8 possibilities – obviously pleased him.
“We had a good week in practice,” said Nees. “And there was a lot of film study. But the thing is that our players really embrace that part of it. We have meetings before practice, after practice, and they expect that. We’re only on the field about a hour and fifteen minutes a day and that’s the way it it when you get to the eleventh or twelfth week.”
What did he see in preparation that favored the Indians?
“Their defensive line was quite a bit smaller than our offensive line,” said Nees. “And what really opened things up was Brady. When we got him out on the perimeter that opened the rest of it up. It’s a good offense for the fact that we can also throw the ball, and to keep things open that way, too.”
Experience? It’s hard to imagine a team looking more experienced than Piqua looked Friday night.
“It is, but we still have four sophomores that play regularly for us,” he adds. “We have six juniors that are big-timers. But our senior class are the guys that have started now for three years. And we took some lumps, especially when they were sophomores, and we embrace that now in terms of our preparation.
“They were good (Little Miami). And we never judge. We never talk about who’s good and who’s not good. We present the information, and then we go. We find out on Friday night how fast, how good people are, and go from there.”
They’ll find out next Friday how good and how athletic Withrow is, the #8 seed (9-1) who knocked Troy out Friday night, 29-7. And those questions throughout the season about strength of schedule, and being challenged? There wasn’t a hint of concern from anyone Friday.
Like the man said…they’ll find how fast, how good, and go from there.
Any more questions?