By Rob Kiser
Miami Valley Today
TROY — It was a fitting in a game dominated by defense, that Troy “picked” its way to number 67 with two big intercpetions against Piqua Friday night at Troy Memorial Stadium.
Two interceptions by the Trojans sealed the 14-0 victory and gave the Trojans a 67-66-6 lead in the all-time series with the Indians and Troy sophomore defensive lineman Cam’ron Couch was name MVP of the game with eight tackles, including 1.5 for loss.
“It is the number one defense in the league,” Troy football coach Troy Everhart said about his defense. “And it is not even close. You have to give all of our defensive coaches a lot of credit for the job they have done.”
With the win, Troy improved to 5-1 overall and 4-1 in the MVL — and with Butler’s win over Tippecanoe, the Trojans moved into a four-way share of the MVL lead with those two teams and Sidney.
Troy will play at Xenia Friday night. Piqua, 1-5 overall and 1-4 in the MVL, will travel to West Carrollton Friday night.
With Piqua trailing 7-0 and having just crossed midfield with just under four minutes remaining in the game, Troy defensive back Logan Ullery showed why teams try and avoid throwing the ball his way.
Ullery, who has 10 interceptions in the last two seasons, picked off his fourth pass of the season and returned it 40 yards to the Piqua 27 with 3:49 remaining in the game.
“He (Logan Ullery) led the league in interceptions last year and teams have been throwing away from his this year,” Everhart said. “But, Caleb Akins has done a great job on the other side and they had to come back to him.”
Five runs by Troy workhorse running back Jahari Ward put the ball in the end zone and Cameron Stoltz’s PAT kick put Troy up 14-0 with 1:38 remaining.
On the first play after a touchback on the kickoff, Troy’s Jayden Hackney jumped a short route and intercepted a pass at the Piqua 22-yard line to seal the win.
“Jayden (Hackney) did a great job baiting the quarterback and made a big play,” Everhart said.
For the most of the game, it had been a battle between two defenses not allowing offenses many opportunities.
But, Troy got a big play from sophomore running back Aidan Gorman in the second quarter to get on the board.
The drive began on the Trojan 21-yard line and took just eight plays.
Ward converted two second-and-ones for first downs and Devin Strobel did the same on a third-and-one.
On first-and-10 from the Piqua 38, Gorman appeared trapped in the Piqua backfield for a big loss.
But, he reversed his field and headed down the left sideline, picking up a couple key blocks on his way to the end zone.
Stoltz’s kick made it 7-0 with 4:04 remaining in the half.
Troy had another opportunity in the third quarter when a 17-yard pass from Aiden Kirkpatrick to Yoncarlo Fuentes put Troy at the Piqua 38-yard line, but the drive stalled.
Neither team would cross midfield until Piqua’s Ky Warner had runs of 19 and 5 yards to move the ball to the Troy 48 on the potential game-tying drive.
But, Ullery changed things on the next play and Troy would finish off the win.
The Trojan defense gave up little all night as Piqua was limited to five first downs and 89 yards.
Jericho Burns had 46 yards on 18 carries to lead the Indian offense.
At the same time, Piqua’s defense kept the Indians in the game.
Owen Shawler had 11 tackle and Gage Gambill added 10.
Ky Warner and John Hess both finished with eight tackles.
Ward led the Troy offense with 161 yards on 30 carries.
Kirkpatrick completed seven of 12 passes for 58 yards and Dakota Manson had three catches for 25 yards.
Couch led a Troy defense — with 14 different players making tackles — to the shutout and the lead in the series.
Strobel had two sacks.
“It means we are one up on the ledger,” Everhart said. “But, there will be another game next year.”
After a hard-fought defensive battle Friday night.
Sports Editor Rob Kiser can be reached at [email protected]