Edgewood’s seasons ends after its third trip to the regional semifinals.
“We asked these boys to come out and fight for 48 minutes and that’s what they did,” Edgewood coach Scott Clemmons said. “They did the program proud, they did the community proud, and they did the old alumni proud.”
And Piqua reached back to the tradition Nees’ program has known for 29 years when it looked like Edgewood would win because it’s ability to chew up the clock limited the Indians’ chances.
“I know it’s cliché that every coach that wins says their guys never give up,” Nees said. “Very rarely do they get flustered.”
The Piqua defense, dented for more than three quarters by Edgewood’s power running, finally forced a second punt after the Cougars lost fullback Tavionne Crosby to a leg injury. Crosby was a battering ram with 164 yards on 34 carries and scored two touchdowns.
Then Piqua star tailback Jasiah Medley began to carry the Indians. A 39-yard burst to the Edgewood 20 set up his 7-yard scoring run to tie the score at 21 with 2:52 left.
“I just knew it was over for them, basically,” Medley said. “Once I get space, we’re scoring.”
Space was where the Edgewood defense was trying to keep Medley out of.
“He’s an explosive player and you’ve got to keep him boxed in,” Clemmons said. “He had some good runs at the end – made some big plays.”
Good things continued to happen for the Indians. A holding penalty wiped out an Edgewood first-down run, and on the next play linebacker Sam Schmeising forced a fumble that Tanner Kemp recovered at the Edgewood 17 with 2:40 left.
“You have the big play and you hear the crowd erupt – that’s just huge,” Schmeising. “It changed the game.”
Three plays later with the Indians at the seven, Medley started to go down with a short gain but kept his balance and got to the one. After the play, he limped off with an ankle injury that he said won’t keep him down. Bryson Roberts carried the final yard for the winning touchdown with 42 seconds left.
Medley had 140 yards on 19 carries and three touchdowns to raise his season totals to 1,959 yards and 35 touchdowns.
For much of the game, Edgewood had control even though the score was tied at 14 at halftime. Crosby’s inside running and Jay Dailey’s outside running kept the chains moving for the Cougars. They scored on long drives twice in the first half.
“At that point it possibly occurred to us that we might want to make an adjustment, so we did,” Nees said. “It wasn’t so much the adjustment. It was that we did something different, and we were able to get a couple guys free.”
The Cougars managed one more touchdown drive in the third quarter. Then the Indians forced a punt following Edgewood’s first two negative yardage plays of the game. It was just the beginning of the defense making a difference.
“We knew it was going to be a matter of two or three plays,” Schmeising said. “We’ve been working against it all week, but you can’t simulate their offense. It was a little bit different from practice. but our coaches and players did a good job of adjusting after the first two touchdowns.”