Red Devils oust Piqua in a preview between two future conference foes.
TIPP CITY — Some of Tippecanoe’s players were worried heading into Friday’s game against Piqua. They not only found they could play with the Indians; they found they were significantly better.
The Red Devils ran the ball around and through Piqua in a Division III regional quarterfinal playoff game and won 37-12. Tippecanoe advances to face Trotwood-Madison next Friday, while Piqua finishes with a 6-5 record.
Tippecanoe ran away with a game by outscoring the Indians 24-6 in the second half. They gained confidence in the first half after containing Piqua’s powerful rushing game led by Damien Tipps-Clemons. The Indians moved the ball and controlled the clock for 20 minutes in the first half but had only one touchdown to show for it, while Tipp’s offense had the ball for four minutes and scored twice.
“That is our no bend but no break defense,” Tippecanoe head coach Joel Derge said after the game. “Against Indian Lake earlier in the season (a game Tipp won 17-13) we only had three offensive possessions in the first half.”
Tippecanoe wasted no time as sophomore running back Cole Barhorst ran 84 yards for a first quarter touchdown. Piqua moved the ball well and drove Tipp’s three-yard line. By the time QB Rupert Delacruz was rushed on fourth down pass and threw an incomplete pass, Tipp had shoved the Indians back to the 16.
Piqua rebounded and later tied it at 7-7 when Delacruz hit Hudson Hawk from 10 yards out. Tippecanoe responded with a touchdown run from Barhorst again, this time from 7 yards out, which gave Tipp a 13-7 halftime lead.
“Some of our kids did not think that we could play with and beat Piqua but that run by Barhorst early in the game convinced our team that we could play and beat those guys,” Derge said. “We worked hard on tackling Tipps-Clemons and did not give up any big runs to speak of.”
After an interception to start third quarter by Cade Rogers, RB Jakob Prall ran for a 37-yard touchdown to boost Tipp’s lead to 20-6. The Red Devils rolled from there. Prall, who entered the game averaging 12.5 yards per carry, had several other long runs in the game.
After Piqua turned the ball over on downs in the third, Tipp drove down and capped off a drive with a 24-yard field goal by Dylan Shomper.
Cade Rogers made an acrobatic catch on an interception to start the fourth quarter for Tipp that he returned 70 yards for a TD. Piqua responded with Rupert Delacruz running it in from 1 yard to cut the lead to 30-12. Tippecanoe punted the ball on its next drive, and Piqua started on their own 3-yard line. Tipps-Clemons promptly fumbled the ball and Tipp recovered, which set up the Red Devils last scoring drive that ended with a 7-yard run.
Piqua had a huge offensive yardage advantage in the game and had a big lead in total offensive plays with over 80 compared to Tipp’s 40.
The game was the first of many between the two teams in coming seasons. Tippecanoe leaves the CBC this summer and will join the GWOC before next season. The Red Devils will play in the North Division with Piqua, Troy, Sidney, Greenville and Butler.