XENIA — Piqua had allowed zero points in three games this season. Xenia quickly changed that fact.
A dominating performance on both sides of the ball by the Buccaneers led to jubilant smiles on their sideline as the clock ticked down in a 28-0 victory over Piqua on Friday at Doug Adams Stadium.
“I just think we were highly motivated to win this game,” head coach Maurice Harden said. “We wanted to put on a great show for our community.”
Xenia entered the game ranked 10th in the initial D-II state AP poll of the season, while Piqua was No. 6. The Indians had outscored its opponents 172-0 coming into the game, but Xenia needed less than five minutes into the game to end that streak.
Trei’Shaun Sanders had 25 carries for 152 yards and three touchdowns to led the Bucs’ offense in the win.
“It was mainly the offensive line,” Sanders said. “They were moving guys and made it easy.”
Xenia won the total yardage battle 362-112. Jamell Smith said the team remembered the fireworks from each Piqua score in last year’s game between the two teams, which Piqua had won 35-6, and that he had heard motivating words from Piqua players prior to Friday’s game which helped drive the team’s will to play hard.
“We held them under 120 yards,” Smith said. “They said they’re going to run for almost 500 and we were not going to let that happen.”
The Bucs never punted in the first half while scoring three straight touchdowns to open up a 21-0 advantage and never had to look back from there.
The Piqua offense picked up a few first downs, but never were able to cross midfield.
Sanders began the game getting four straight carries and scored on a 25-yard scamper where he stiff armed a defender at the 5 before rolling in for the score. It was the first points allowed all season by Piqua.
“We feel like when we get Trei’Shaun the ball, it gives us the best opportunity to win,” Harden said. “… We kind of define ourselves on being a physical team.”
On Xenia’s next possession, the offense used one of its longest drives of the season spanning 13 plays over 76 yards to get on the scoreboard again. Gavin McManus threw a 10-yard touchdown pass which Jackson Tate powered through an Indians’ defender to ensure he stretched into the endzone.
The only thing which put a stop to Xenia in the first half was the clock, which ran out when McManus kneed on it following a holding penalty to stop his last drive of the half.
Xenia had 50 rushes in the game to 47 total plays by the Piqua offense.
Piqua opened the second half with an interception of McManus, but Xenia’s Jaxen Lewis got his team the ball right back on a fumble recovery on the second play of the Indians’ ensuing drive.
Sanders went on to find the endzone on a two-yard run with 1:28 remaining in the third quarter to cap the scoring.
The Indians’ offense finally made its way into Xenia territory in the fourth quarter, but never got past the 30-yard line.
“Our defense is spectacular,” Harden said. “They give people a lot of problems because of how physical they are and how they can bring pressure from so many different areas.”
“Our coach always says the game is dependent on the [defensive] line,” Smith said. “The d-line set the tone all game.”
Xenia moves to 4-0 overall and 3-0 in the MVL with the win, handing Piqua its first loss.
“We’re not done,” Smith said. “We’re not done one bit. We’re still going to be back in tomorrow early in the morning. … This is just another step in the legacy this team is building.”
Contact Steven Wright at 937-502-4498 and follow on Twitter @Steven_Wright_.