Piedmont completes its Class 3A, Region 5 schedule Friday, hosting Ohatchee. If the Bulldogs win they will have run the table in Region 5 and will be region champion with a 6-0 region record. Should Ohatchee win, things are less certain for anyone so the best result to provide clarity will be for the Bulldogs (7-1) to beat the Indians for the fifth time in four seasons.
Ohatchee has four defensive starters back from last year’s team that lost to Piedmont in the regular season and again in the Class 3A semifinal round. Three starters returned from the offensive side then wingback Jesse Sellers suffered a season-ending injury that reduced the number to two, both linemen.
Piedmont has followed Ohatchee in the region schedule so each week Bulldogs coach Steve Smith has seen Ohatchee as he looks at his immediate opponent. Smith said Monday night that what he has noticed most is how much the young Indians have improved with game experience.
“They’re a different group than they were at the beginning of the year,” Smith said.
“They’re 90 percent run but they do have the ability to hurt you with the pass. They’ve added a little bit to their passing game,” Smith added.
Smith noted that both his Bulldogs and the Ohatchee team have the ability to put together drives of 15 plays that eat seven to eight minutes off the clock.
“I look for both teams to try to establish long, time-consuming drives – try to keep the other’s offense off the field. It very possibly could be one of those games where you only have three or four possessions per half,” Smith predicted. “I do think you have to make the most of your opportunities when you get the ball.”
The Bulldogs dominated the line of scrimmage with their four-man defensive front and broke big plays on offense in defeating Wellborn 35-10 for homecoming on Friday of last week.
“You could tell during the game that we were getting good pressure on their quarterback but not until I watched the film did I realize the number of plays that we had on the defensive side that went for negative yardage. We had nine sacks and six other tackles behind the line of scrimmage,” Smith said, noting that so much penetration into the backfield disrupted the misdirection plays Wellborn employed from its wing-T formations.
Senior tackle Logan Beadles totaled 13 tackles with three sacks and one other tackle for lost yards. Freshman end Sean Smith recorded three sacks and three more stops behind the line of scrimmage in his 11 tackles. Junior end Matthew Thornton recovered a fumble and had eight tackles with one sack and one additional stop behind the line. Senior tackle Seth Gardner made seven stops.
“I thought the defensive line had their best performance of the year,” coach Smith said.
Linebacker Gavin Kircus also had double-figure tackles with 10, including two sacks. Linebacker Logan Smith made a tackle for loss and six additional tackles. Taylor Morrow had six tackles and Malachi Jackson four. Kaedon Jenkins and Mason Mohon each had three stops. Mohon broke up two passes and Jackson one. Jackson Barber made two tackles. Jakari Foster intercepted a pass.
Piedmont’s official stats showed senior running back Lee Stanley led the ground attack with 10 carries for 110 yards. His 2-yard run with 5:16 still to play in the third quarter put the Bulldogs in front 35-3.
Senior quarterback Cardavion Myers ran six times for 109 yards, including scoring jaunts of 74 and 39 yards. Myers completed touchdown passes of 68 and 16 yards to senior wide receiver Darien Bossie. Myers was 6-for-8 passing on the day for 138 yards. Bossie ended with three grabs for 94 yards. D’Angelo Foster had a 39-yard catch to set up Stanley’s touchdown run.
With his three carries Braylon Cole added 43 rushing yards to Piedmont’s ground total of 315 yards. Elijah Johnson gained 21 yards on five attempts. T.J. Fairs ran speed sweeps three times for 19 yards. Layton New had three carries for 17 yards.