The Bulldogs, now 3-0 overall, 3-0 in Region 6 action and ranked No. 2 in Class 3A, led only 13-0 at halftime. White Plains (0-3, 0-3) limited Piedmont’s chances on offense with a ball-control attack.
Late in the first quarter, White Plains coach Heath Harmon went to a double wing alignment that featured seven shoulder-to-shoulder linemen. Harmon inserted sophomore Joseph Dothard at quarterback and moved starting quarterback Dale Reddick to right wingback. With Jaylen Hill at the opposite wing, the Wildcats ran tosses and held the ball for almost nine minutes of the second quarter.
“I think it helped us a little bit. We didn’t have as many negative plays,” Harmon said of the change. “In the first half, we did a pretty good job.”
“That was just physical football and they were playing more physically than we were,” Piedmont coach Steve Smith said.
A 22-yard punt return by Sloan Garner on a reverse from Landon Pruitt set the stage for Piedmont’s first score. After a false start penalty moved the ball back to the White Plains 33-yard line, Major carried three consecutive times, scoring on a 20-yard run, and the Bulldogs led 6-0 with 4:27 left in the quarter.
On the first play of the second quarter, Reddick fumbled and cornerback LaPhonzo Burroughs recovered for Piedmont at the White Plains 7. On third and goal, Major scored from two yards out. The first of four extra point kicks by Dillon Terry was good and the Bulldogs led 13-0.
Whatever Smith said at halftime got the attention of his players. Smith said the Bulldogs “did a better job of going out there and playing the way we were supposed to.”
Harmon and his staff warned their Wildcats to expect more intensity from Piedmont in the second half.
Despite the warning, “We just had a lot of trouble matching it,” Harmon said.
After intermission, White Plains was three-and-out on each of its first four possessions.
“In the second half, we did a better job of getting some penetration and busting through that gap,” Smith said.
Piedmont freshman Cody Daughtry returned the second half kickoff 33 yards to the Piedmont 48. Four running plays set up a 13-yard Bradley to Pruitt touchdown pass. A short punt led to a one-play, 43-yard scoring drive on Piedmont’s next possession. Bradley rifled a pass to Garner over the middle. Garner cut back toward the Piedmont sideline and raced into the end zone. In less than five minutes, the Bulldogs had matched their point production of the first half and led 26-0.
“I really thought Cade did a great job after he settled down,” Smith said. “We were able to hit them for a couple of touchdowns that kind of broke their backs there in the third quarter.”
In the fourth quarter, Sarandon Dunbar scored on a 7-yard run after a 44-yard scamper by Bradley, who started at quarterback in place of dinged-up Chris Strott. With more than seven minutes still to play, eighth-grader Darnell Jackson tallied the final touchdown on a 3-yard run after a 58-yard gain by freshman Dreke Thompson got the Bulldogs close.
Bradley finished 9-for-14 throwing for 129 yards. Garner had five catches for 80 yards. Major ran eight times for 57 yards and added a 21-yard pass reception. Hill netted 40 yards on the ground to lead White Plains.
Piedmont hosts J.B. Pennington for homecoming Friday. White Plains plays at Saks.