Piqua football advances in playoff with 17-13 win over Withrow


PIQUA — It didn’t come easy.

The Piqua football team found itself trailing in the fourth quarter for the first time all season Friday night in a D-II, Region 8 playoff game with Cincinnati Withrow at Alexander Stadium/Purk Field.

But, the Indians made the plays when they counted and advanced with a 17-13 victory.

Piqua, 11-0, makes its first trip to the regional semifinals since 2007 and won two playoffs games in one year for the first time since 2006 and will play 9-2 Edgewood at 7 p.m. Friday night at Wayne High School.

“As you can see, we are all pretty excited,” Piqua quarterback Brady Ouhl said in a loud locker room after the game. “It wasn’t pretty at times, we didn’t play our best. But, we found a way to win.”

Piqua was still trailing 13-10 in the fourth quarter when the Indians faced a a critical third and 10 at the Withrow 49-yard line.

Ouhl lofted a pass down the right sideline and running back Jasiah Medley came back to it to make the catch at the Withrow 11-yard line.

“I couldn’t get everything into it,” Ouhl, who had to make the throw off his back foot, said. “But, I knew Jasiah would make the catch. I am going to stick with what I said last week. Jasiah Medley is the best player in the state.”

Medley said it could not have worked out any better.

“He almost never underthrows me because he has a gun,” Medley said. “I just ran too fast. But, it could not have been a more perfect underthrow.”

Medley dashed into the end zone through a huge hole created by the offensive line on the next play and Jackson Trombley’s PAT kick put Piqua up 17-13 with 9:44 to to.

“That play was sweet,” Medley said. “We had been trying to hit it all night. That was a game changer.”

Piqua forced Withrow to punt from near midfield after its next possession, but Piqua had a three and out.

When Withrow got the ball back at its own 41 with 3:50 to go, the Piqua defense stopped them cold.

After a penalty made it first and 15, Piqua linebacker Sam Schmiesing knifed in to make a tackle in the backfield for a two-yard loss.

On second and 17, linebacker Bryson Roberts was able to strip the receiver after a short completion, but the ball bounced out of bounds.

It was a two-yard loss and on third and 19, Roberts broke up a pass attempt, forcing Withrow to punt.

“We made some plays,” Piqua football coach Bill Nees said. “That is a good football team and if you want to win games like this, you have to make plays.”

Piqua got the ball back at its 37 with 2:56 to go.

With Withrow only having one timeout remaining, Medley pounded his way to two first downs and that was enough to finish off the win.

“At that point, both teams were worn down,” Nees said. “And we were able to finish things off.”

The Indians had gotten off to a good start in the opening quarter.

Piqua went 57 yards on its first possession with, Medley finding the end zone from 17 yards out and Trombley kicked the PAT.

After a Withrow three-and-out, Piqua got the ball back on its own 40.

On fourth-and-12 from the 38, Medley ran 32 yards on a fake punt, setting up Trombley’s first field goal attempt of the season.

He split the uprights from 33 yards out to make it 10-0.

Withrow would counter with two big plays to gain the advantage by halftime.

First, two plays after the kickoff, Ty’aris Stevenson went 83 yards for a TD and Abdourahime Berry kicked the PAT.

It looked like it would stay 10-7 going to halftime after a Piqua first down on fourth down was wiped out by a penalty and Withrow took over on downs at the Piqua 25 with 22 seconds left in the half.

But, quarterback Antwonez Font found Timothy Pope for a 59-yard gain to the Piqua one-yard line with three seconds left in the half.

Stevenson ran it into the end zone on the final play of the half, giving Withrow a 13-10 lead at the break.

After a scoreless third quarter, Piqua made the plays down the stretch to advance to next week,

“They got some breaks and we got some breaks,” Nees said. “I will say I thought we played 100 percent better in the second half than we did in the first half.”

Medley finished with 135 yards on 28 carries and five catches for 65 yards, while Ouhl completed seven of 16 passes for 79 yards.

Trombley again had a big night, killing a punt on the three-yard line and all four kickoffs were touchbacks.

Landon Hare led the defense with seven tackles and a sack.

Fant completed five of 13 passes for 74 yards for Withrow, while Stevenson had 125 yards rushing on 15 carries.

Riley Simpson led the Tiger defense with eight tackles and a sack.

Kush’i Abraham had seven tackles and Joshua Lukusa had six tackles and a sack.

“It was a great game,” Medley said. “They are a really good team. But, we had to win this game and we did.”

By making the plays when it mattered most.

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