E.A. Sports Today

Bulldogs battle back to win their event

Pleasant Valley coach Jeff Davis gives a pointer to quarterback Drew Lewiski during Piedmont's 7-on-7 camp Saturday. In the main photo, Piedmont coach Steve Smith (blue shirt) watches his team intently.

Pleasant Valley coach Jeff Davis gives a pointer to quarterback Drew Lewiski during Piedmont’s 7-on-7 camp Saturday. In the main photo, Piedmont coach Steve Smith (blue shirt) watches his team intently.

By Al Muskewitz
East Alabama Sports Today

PIEDMONT – When it comes to these 7-on-7 tournament games, Piedmont coach Steve Smith basically alternates his quarterbacks and lets the chips fall where they may.

It was Taylor Hayes’ turn in the barrel in the championship game of the Bulldogs’ own 7-on-7 event Saturday and the rising sophomore delivered in a big way.

Hayes threw three touchdown passes to Cody Daughtry, C.J. Savage and Dreek Thompson as the Bulldogs beat Munford 20-7. Both teams are expected to be state championship contenders in the fall.

“Numbers-wise we’re the smallest since my first year and we have guys who take on multiple roles,” Smith said. “What we always do in these 7-on-7s is alternate our quarterbacks a game at a time regardless of how the schedule comes up.

“(Tyler) Lusk had a heck of a game in the semifinals, but I’ve got an extremely high amount of confidence in either one of them. We let the chips fall however they may. Whoever’s up is up.

“Both have had really good summers throwing the football. Both are baseball players and have had a limited amount of work throwing the ball, but I’ve been very, very impressed with their arms and accuracy and their knowledge and understanding of what we’re trying to do with a limited amount of time.”

The win in the title game provided the Bulldogs with a measure of revenge and capped a long road back.

They lost to Munford and Gaston in their first two games of pool play, then swept their way through to the title. They beat Anniston, Ranburne, Leeds and, in the semifinals, a White Plains team that won its first five games under new coach Larry Strain’s spread offense.

Munford beat Cleburne County in the other semifinal.

“We didn’t start out too good today and a lot of that had to do with the fine play of Munford and Gaston; they played really well against us early in the day,” Smith said. “We started getting in our rhythm in the Anniston game right before lunch.

“I would say when you lose your first two and finish 6-2 you’re leaving on a positive note. There were some really, really good teams there; probably six or seven you’ll see go deep in the playoffs. I’ve been really, really pleased with us this summer, our quarterback play.”



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