PIEDMONT — The game between the No. 2 and No. 4 teams in Class 3A started as a disaster for No. 2 Piedmont and ended in disaster for No. 4 Randolph County.
Piedmont scored three times over a six-minute period from late in the third quarter until early in the fourth and defeated the Tigers 27-15.
Freshman quarterback Jack Hayes started slowly but finished strong. He completed scoring passes of 7 yards to Ethan Swinford, 34 yards to Silas Thompson and 22 yards to Swinford as the Bulldogs overcame a 15-6 halftime deficit.
Hayes was 2-for-10 throwing with two interceptions to start the second half then finished the half on a 7-for-8 run for 90 yards and three scores. Overall, he was 15-for-34 for 223 yards and four touchdowns with the two interceptions.
What to know
—Randolph County opened the game with a 60-yard kickoff return by Johnathan Prothro to the Piedmont 20-yard line. Dante Jordan scored for the Tigers on the first snap and Braxton Daniel kicked the extra point. After picking up two first downs, Piedmont was forced to punt. The punt was blocked and Randolph County’s Hagan bailey returned the block about 25 yards for a touchdown. Jordan ran a two-point conversion out of a water-bucket formation and the Tiger led 15-0 with 8:47 left in the first quarter. At that point, lightning delayed the game for more than an hour.
—Piedmont’s defense kept the Tigers at bay the rest of the night. Cornerback Brant Deerman knocked away a fourth down pass at the Piedmont goal line for a turnover on downs at the Piedmont at the Piedmont 21. On the next play, Hayes completed a short pass to Swinford in the right flat. Swinford split two defenders scored.
—Randolph County’s next possession ended on a fumble recovery by Jakari Foster. In the third quarter, Piedmont got fumble recoveries by Bryson Ingram and Malachi Jackson and Sean Young recovered a lateral before Hayes got hot.
—Swinford caught eight passes for 142 yards and three touchdowns. Thompson had three receptions for 59 yards.
—Jordan, one of eight Randolph County players who were two-way starters, had two interceptions for the Tigers.
—The game was the fourth time the two schools played in the regular season in the last your years. Piedmont has won all four meetings. After losing the 2017 regular-season contest, The Tigers defeated the Bulldogs in Piedmont in the Class 3A semifinals.
—Steve Smith on team staying composed early: “We’re going to go in tonight and celebrate a huge region win. I’m proud of our guys for bouncing back and keeping their composure and being able to do what it took to pull out a win against a great Randolph County team.”
—Smith on Hayes: “Jack, he’s a tough kid. He’s a winner. He made some mistakes. We all did. We dropped a few, too, that would have helped him some.”
—Pat Prestridge on two-way starters: “They play about 33 guys and we play 11. It’s been that way ever since we’ve been playing them. We’re not fortunate enough to have a lot of kids, older kids, but it is what it is.”
—Prestridge after denying that the long lightning delay had any impact on his team after its quick start: “I think penalties killed us and fumbles killed us. That was it.”
—Each team continues Class 3A, Region 6 action. Piedmont (3-0 overall and 2-0 Region 6) will be at home against Weaver. Randolph County (2-1, 1-1) plays B.B. Comer in Sylacauga.